A super PAC run by a white nationalist fan of President Donald Trump once funded a series of radio ads in several states to try to take back the name "deplorable."
According to reports in Mother Jones and the Los Angeles Times, William Johnson may have stepped down as a Trump delegate to the national Republican convention last year, but he was still using his influence to support his president.
“It is certainly to help Trump,” Johnson told Mother Jones. “If you look at the content of the radio ad, it promotes what Trump stands for. And every time people read these things, it helps convince them. There’s been 50 years of propaganda on the other side, so it is going to take a long process to change people’s opinion and this is just one step in that direction.”
The ad began running in 2016 on The Political Cesspool, a radio show hosted by American Freedom Party co-director James Edwards. It has also ran on the radio show Liberty RoundTable.
“Do you want a strong leader who will secure our borders and stop the flow of illegal aliens and radical Islamic terrorists,” the ad says. The disclaimer on the ad complies with FEC rules saying that it is "paid for by William Johnson, a farmer and a deplorable.”
Last year, Johnson also did robo-calls that specifically attacked Republican Evan McMullin as "gay."
“Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is okay with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage," the ad alleged. “Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual."
In the 2016 robocalls, Johnson referred to himself as a "farmer and white nationalist" but he told Mother Jones that Edwards told him to use the term "deplorable" since the term has been adopted on social media.
“It’s tongue-in-cheek,” Johnson explained. “It’s like the term ‘gay’ used to mean something else, and now it’s positive in the homosexual community. Maybe ‘deplorable’ will become a positive term.”
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the ads had started running this month.)