The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hear a white nationalist’s robocall urging Iowa voters to back Trump

White nationalist leader Jared Taylor recently robocalled Iowa voters in support of Donald Trump. (Video: Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Jared Taylor, a leading white nationalist known for his academic-sounding deconstructions of multiculturalism, has been an ardent supporter of Donald Trump since the earliest days of the billionaire's presidential campaign.

The professorial Taylor — who speaks with a formality that verges on the pedantic — admits that he's not a big fan of Trump's raw, confrontational style. But he calls himself a "one-issue voter" — and that issue is Trump's bread and butter: Immigration.

"I think what he's done is a very important thing," Taylor told The Washington Post. "He's the first candidate in decades to say almost explicitly that immigration should be in the interest of Americans and not just immigrants."

He added: "He's attractive to many Americans who see their country slipping through their fingers. You don't want to end your days living in an outpost of Haiti or Guatemala do you?"

Last weekend, Taylor — editor of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance — lent his voice to a robo-call recording urging registered voters in Iowa to back Trump. Those potential voters, Taylor told The Post, are part of a silent majority who are tired of being asked to celebrate diversity but are afraid of being labeled bigots.

“I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America,” Taylor says on the recording, which was paid for by the American National super PAC. “We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.”

How America’s dying white supremacist movement is seizing on Donald Trump’s appeal

The robo-call was first reported by Talking Points Memo.

Does Taylor think his plea will resonate with Iowans?

"We'll see how the vote goes," he said. "I think that most official Republicans have no idea how betrayed ordinary white people feel by their country bring turned into something else. Ordinary white folks are sick of having to press 1 for Spanish."

Taylor said he cited Muslims in his message because Trump has been resoundingly criticized for saying the United States should bar Muslims from entering the country.

"I have yet to hear from anyone the benefits that Muslims bring to this country," he said.

Dave Dwyer, an Iowa resident who sent a recording of the call to Talking Points Memo, told the publication he was shocked by what he heard.

"I've lived in Iowa a long time and I've never seen anything like this," he said.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests from The Post seeking comment about the robo-call or the candidate’s support among white supremacists.

He previously brushed off the support of former Louisiana politician and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, telling Bloomberg News: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” When Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann asked whether he would repudiate Duke’s support, Trump replied: “Sure, I would if that would make you feel better.”

Trump does not endorse white supremacist groups, and his campaign has fired two staffers for posting racially offensive material on social media. The candidate shocked some conservatives last month by criticizing Justice Antonin Scalia after Scalia argued that black students would perform better in “slower-track” universities.

But Taylor told the New Yorker last year that Trump may be in denial about the makeup of his base.

"I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me," Taylor told the magazine, "but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”

Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, doesn't necessarily disagree with the idea that Trump is bringing white rage to the surface. But, he said, he suspects Taylor is overestimating the number of silent supporters white nationalists really have.

What Trump is doing, Potok told The Post last month, is taking a “subterranean community” of people that, until recently, existed underground and online and bringing them into the light of mainstream America. Hostile towards minority groups, fearful of seismic changes in racial demographics and cultural norms, and frustrated by corrupt politicians they perceive as cowed by politically correct culture, it is a bloc of Americans who have been quietly seething, Potok said.

Donald Trump featured in new jihadist recruitment video

Potok pointed to same-sex marriage, noting that only a decade ago it seemed unimaginable to many; now, it's the law of the land.

“For a pretty sizable number of Americans, that’s unbelievable," Potok said. "They feel like ground is being cut from under them, like they inhabit a world they don’t recognize.”

Potok believes Taylor is attempting to capitalize on those feelings of unease by adding to white supremacist language a pseudo-intellectual veneer.

"He's a guy who speaks several languages, plays a classical instrument and has very great pretensions to intellectuality," Potok told The Post. "That said, he is also a man who described black people as psychopathologically incapable of sustaining civilization in any circumstances and as the authors of massive amounts of crime directed at white people."

Taylor is not alone on the Iowa robo-call.

Also featured is Rev. Donald Tan, a Filipino-American minister who hosts the Christian radio show “For God and Country,” according to a statement posted by the American Freedom Party that refers to Trump as white nationalists' "Great White Hope."

“First Corinthians states 'God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong,’ ” Tan says on the call. “For the Iowa caucuses, please support Donald Trump."

Following Taylor on the call is American Freedom Party chairman William Johnson, who refers to himself in the recording as "a farmer and white nationalist." He mentions that the call is paid for through the super PAC and adds that the call was not endorsed by Trump.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump released his first television ad spot Jan. 4. (Video: Donald Trump)

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, told CNN's Jake Tapper that the robo-call can only serve to damage Trump's campaign.

"Who thinks this helps?" he asked, according to a transcript. "Are you kidding me? I mean, these are foolish racists calling around ... and they think it will help."

He added that Trump should not be responsible for denouncing the group.

Former White House adviser Van Jones disagreed, saying the robo-call "is troubling" before calling on the Republican front-runner to take a “look in the mirror" to ask: "Who am I inspiring? Who am I attracting? Why will horrible racist groups say I'm the only candidate that speaks for them?"

Jones added: "My deep concern is that Donald Trump is beginning to legitimate some of the dark things that have been in our country for a long time and now starting to let them elevate, let them rise."

Taylor has previously said Trump "may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people."

This post has been updated.

More reading: 

Muslim woman gets kicked out of Trump rally — for protesting silently

Trump’s provocative first TV ad raises the temperature of GOP race

Donald Trump asks a Reno audience to weigh in on Ted Cruz’s eligibility

Alongside Trump’s campaign, activist clashes are growing uglier