Mother Jones reported yesterday (May 10) that Donald Trump’s campaign selected a White nationalist leader as one of its delegates for California’s upcoming Republican primary election—an election that, given the suspension of Ted Cruz and John Kasich’s respective presidential campaigns, Trump will almost certainly win. The Trump campaign subsequently blamed the selection on a “database error.”
William Johnson’s name appeared on a list of Republican delegates released by the California Secretary of State’s office on Monday (May 9). Johnson leads the American Freedom Party, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as ”a political party initially established by racist Southern California skinheads that aims to deport immigrants and return the United States to White rule.” Johnson initially told Mother Jones that he wants to show that “I can be a White nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”
Mother Jones published email correspondence between Johnson and the Trump campaign’s California delegate coordinator, Katie Lagomarsino, which includes a congratulatory message sent to Johnson and an exchange about mailing a pledge form.
Despite the correspondence, the Trump campaign told both Mother Jones and the New York Daily News that Johnson’s selection arose from a “database error.” That response came after the campaign initially denied that it approved Johnson’s application to serve as a delgate. Johnson also told Mother Jones on Tuesday night, after the story’s publication, that he accepts the campaign’s explanation and that he will resign if he is not removed from the database.