Matt Gaetz, the racist, Trump-loving conspiracy theorist Republican congressman, announced Friday that he hired disgraced former White House aide Darren Beattie to serve on his speechwriting staff, eight months after Beattie was ignominiously fired from the Trump administration after it was revealed he spoke at a white nationalist convention.
This past summer, CNN’s KFile reported that Beattie, a former visiting instructor at Duke University, had spoken at the H.L. Mencken Club Conference in 2016 alongside a number of prominent figures in the white nationalist movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the conference itself is “has hosted some of America’s most prominent white nationalist ideologues in the past, and serves as a safe space for professors to vent their racist views, something they clearly had to keep quiet during their time in academia.”
Shortly after CNN uncovered Beattie’s participation in the event, the White House confirmed to the network that “Mr. Beattie no longer works at the White House,” although it would not “comment on personnel matters.”
Although Beattie defended his appearance at the conference to CNN, telling the network he’d “delivered a stand-alone, academic talk titled ‘The Intelligentsia and the Right,’” and that he “said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely,” it seems he shares at least some ideas with the far-right. In, 2017 he wrote an article in the Duke student paper defending President Trump’s Muslim travel ban, writing:
I wonder whether a campus climate in which only one faculty member in the entire university openly supported Trump’s candidacy—namely, me—reflects a more significant threat to higher education than a temporary restriction of travel from the nations in question.
Gaetz, meanwhile, has made a name for himself with stunts like gleefully mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren with bigoted language, telling Fox News, “I know the president likes to call her Pocahantas, but now that she’s making her way from the Eastern seaboard into the center of the country, maybe Sacagawea would be more appropriate.” He also helped spread a debunked conspiracy theory that Central American migrants traveling to the U.S. were part of a George Soros-funded plot and found himself briefly under investigation for tweeting what seemed like a transparent threat against former Trump attorney Michael Cohen before Cohen was scheduled to testify to Congress.
I have reached out to Gaetz’s office for further comment on Beattie’s hiring, and to see whether it is concerned over Beattie’s association with a white nationalist event. I will update this story if Gaetz’s office responds.