Trump camp can't get story straight on how a white nationalist ended up being a CA delegate

William Johnson, the head of a white nationalist party, was, the Trump camp says, mistakenly named a delegate to the candidate's California slate.

They first attributed the gaffe to a "database error."  Later, they claimed that Johnson had been rejected back in February.  But Johnson claims he received a congratulatory email on Monday on being named a delegate by the Trump campaign.

The California secretary of state office says the Trump campaign did not contact them until Monday about removing Johnson's name from their slate.  By then, it was too late.  Johnson offered to resign as a delegate, but his name will be on the slate, per California law.


The Trump campaign submitted the name of William Johnson, the head of the American Freedom Party who funded pro-Trump robocalls that talked of the white race "dying out in America," to the California secretary of state. Johnson is one of 169 delegates -- 159 from congressional districts and 10 at-large delegates -- that voters in each of California's congressional districts would send to the GOP's nominating convention this summer by voting for Trump.

Johnson said he received an email from a California strategist with Trump's campaign late Tuesday afternoon stating that he had been listed in error.

The story was first reported Tuesday by Mother Jones.

In a telephone interview with CNN, Johnson said he understood that "a campaign has to put its best foot forward — and I'm a white nationalist, and we live in a society today where white people don't like white people who like white people. And so, I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize Mr. Trump's chances. So it's best that I resign."

The Trump campaign on Tuesday blamed Johnson's inclusion on its California delegate slate on a "database error."

"Yesterday, the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California. A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign's list in February 2016," Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement.

"We are working to correct this error," she added.

Someone in the Trump campaign knew they were playing with fire by having Johnson as a delegate.  A $250 donation by Johnson to the campaign last February was returned.

It's clear that one hand of the campaign didn't know what the other hand was up to.  One part of the operation knew who Johnson was and rejected him last February, returning his donation in the process.  Another faction in the Trump California operation was oblivious to Johnson's noxious ties and kept pushing him for a spot on the delegate slate.

That's how all this confusion, while sounding like damage control, probably happened as the campaign said it did. 

This sort of chaos happens when no one is in charge at the top.  You can't blame Paul Manafort, Trump's new top campaign aide.  He didn't come on board until a couple of months ago.

This one's on The Donald, who has yet to understand he's in a national campaign that needs a strong hand on the tiller to avoid mistakes like this one.

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