Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
An investigation by The Atlantic has found that a former member of President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has had extensive email conversations with prominent white nationalist activists:
The emails show that the official, Ian M. Smith, had in the past been in contact with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events. On one of the email threads, the address of alt-right white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is included as well as Smith’s. Another group of recipients includes Smith as well as Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, who calls himself a “white advocate.”
The messages, given to The Atlantic by a source to whom they were forwarded, paint a picture of the social scene in which white nationalists gathered for an “Alt-Right Toastmasters” night in 2016, and organized dinner parties and visits from out-of-town friends. And they provide a glimpse into how a group that included hardcore white nationalists were able to operate relatively incognito in the wider world, particularly in conservative circles.
Also part of the conversations were Marcus Epstein, a former aide to Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) who was convicted of a racially motivated assault of an African-American woman in 2009, and American Renaissance editor Devin Saucier. Epstein invited the group to an “Alt-Right Toastmasters” event, writing, “We are having our much delayed follow up meeting on Monday June 6 at 7:00 PM. A couple of out of town guests will be there. Please RSVP and if you want to invite anyone else, please check with me.”
Smith, who left the his job as a policy analyst for DHS earlier this month, and who denies attending any of the events promoted in the emails, has a history of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric that overlaps with the alt-right.
A former blogger for the American Law Reform Institute, which has ties to the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, Smith has argued in his writing for the National Review that the Immigation and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended racial quotas, has made our immigration system “barely governable.” He has also claimed that Raul Castro used a “weapon of mass migration” to force the U.S. to end Cuba sanctions.
Smith is not the only Trump administration alumnus with ties to white supremacy. Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, was recently caught hosting Peter Brimelow, the publisher of the white nationalist site VDARE, at a birthday celebration.
Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.