Almost exactly a year ago, white supremacists, Jew haters and racists of various stripes gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia at what they called the “Unite the Right” rally. One person was killed; many were injured and armed marchers menaced the town’s only synagogue during Shabbat services.
Trump told reporters, “I think there is blame on both sides,” after the white nationalist-planned Aug. 12, 2017 protest turned violent.
Now campaign filings reviewed by the Forward show that a participant in that event has donated to President Trump’s reelection campaign, as have two neo-Nazis. The filings show that the campaign is aware of the contributions, as they have redirected them — but not returned them. Experts say fundraising committees have a responsibility to vet donors.
“Clearly neo-Nazis and white supremacists are marching in the president’s name and are emboldened by rhetoric they’ve seen out of the administration,” said Stephen Spaulding, an attorney with the good government, nonpartisan group Common Cause.
James Allsup, described by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white supremacist, marched at Charlottesville and gave Trump a donation worth $48.33. He made the donation on Nov. 24, 2016; the campaign rerouted it to the primary fund on Jan. 20, 2017. Allsup was recently elected to a Republican Party position in Washington State.
Allsup declined to comment when reached via email, saying he does not “talk to fake news, especially ‘reporters’ that work for leftist rags like Forward.”
The president’s reelection committee also accepted a donation worth $262.16 from “Nazi stage mom” April Gaede on Jan. 20, 2017, which was also channeled into the funds earmarked for the 2020 primary, records show.
Montana-based Gaede — whose twin daughters were in the white nationalist band Prussian Blue, named after a chemical used in Nazi gas chambers — is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a lifelong white supremacist who once told an interviewer, “Did you know anti-Semitism is a disease? Yeah, you catch it from Jews.”
Louisiana-based neo-Nazi Morris Gulett, known for sporting an Aryan Nations uniform, has given three donations totaling at least $200 to Trump’s campaign, most recently on June 29, records show.
Gulett practices an extreme, racist theology called Christian Identity, according to the SPLC, and “closes all his sermons with a Nazi salute,” before shouting “Heil victory.”
Trump’s campaign did not return a request for comment. There was no contact information publicly available for Gaede or Gulett.
These donations amount to a tiny fraction of the more than $16 million Trump’s campaign has brought in directly from individual contributors, but campaigns should have staff compliance officers to make sure they are not accepting illegal contributions that exceed the legal limits, or are from foreign nationals, Spaulding said.
Allsup, whose Instagram feed features him wearing a Make America Great Again hat, attending Trump rallies and posing with white supremacist leader Jared Taylor, said on a far-right podcast his position as a Whitman County precinct committee officer would help him infiltrate the GOP.
“Of course I’m not the GOP shill here. I’m not going to tell you that knocking doors for a Republican congressman is going to save the West or save European Americans,” he said on the podcast. “That’s not at all what I’m saying, but it is a means to an end. This political involvement is a means to our political ends.”
The Republican National Committee denounced Allsup when asked by the Daily Beast about his position within the party.
“We condemn this individual and his hateful, racist views in the strongest possible terms,” an RNC spokesperson said. “There’s no place for it in the Republican Party.”
This isn’t the first time white nationalists have given to high-profile Republicans.
Neo-Nazi speaker Richard Spencer donated $500 to Ryan Zinke’s 2014 Montana congressional campaign. White supremacist leader Earl Holt, who was referenced by church shooter Dylann Roof as an influence, gave $65,000 to various GOP campaigns, including Ted Cruz’s presidential run. Zinke returned the money; Cruz said he would do the same.