comscore Racism and talk of religious war: Trump staff’s online posts | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Racism and talk of religious war: Trump staff’s online posts


    This combo shows two examples of some of the social media postings by Trump campaign staff members discovered by the Associated Press in an online search.

WASHINGTON » Donald Trump’s paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, ridiculed Mexican accents, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings.

The AP examined the social media feeds of more than 50 current and former campaign employees who helped propel Trump through the primary elections. The campaign has employed a mix of veteran political operatives and outsiders. Most come across as dedicated, enthusiastic partisans, but at least seven expressed views that were overtly racially charged, supportive of violent actions or broadly hostile to Muslims.

A graphic designer for Trump’s advance team approvingly posted video of a black man eating fried chicken and criticizing fellow blacks for ignorance, irresponsibility and having too many children. A Trump field organizer in Virginia declared that Muslims were seeking to impose Sharia law in America and that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.”

The AP’s findings come at a time when Trump is showing new interest in appealing to minority voters, insisting he will be fair in dealing with the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally and explicitly pitching himself to African-Americans, saying “what do you have to lose?”

Since Trump declared his candidacy last summer, he has paid about 120 people on his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Over the weekend, the campaign reported about 70 people drawing salaries, a number that did not include a few dozen more working as consultants. A slew of hires in early August were not yet reflected in Trump’s filings.

The AP was able to review the accounts of only a minority of Trump staffers: Others set their accounts to private, some could not be found or identified with confidence as Trump campaign employees.

The AP also reviewed the public social media accounts of more than three dozen employees of Hillary Clinton’s far larger campaign staff and found nothing as inflammatory. One staffer said Trump’s style of speaking reminded him of a roommate who had taken too many hallucinogenic mushrooms. AP also reviewed images attached to more than 19,000 stolen internal emails from the Democratic National Committee for racially or religiously inflammatory memes, finding nothing of note.

The Clinton campaign declined to comment on its procedures for vetting staff. It employs more than 650 people, according to its FEC filings.

One month ago, the AP sent written questions to the Trump campaign with examples of the posts. The campaign has not commented, despite several requests since.

Veteran Republican campaign operatives said keeping an eye on staffers’ social media postings has long been a standard practice.

“In vetting a prospective staffer, I’m not sure where the line would be for not hiring someone or simply asking them to take something down from social media, but there is a line,” said Beth Myers, a former top Mitt Romney campaign aide.

During Myers’ work for Mitt Romney in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, she said, social media was newer, so indiscrete or embarrassing photos were more often concerns than inflammatory views. Even outside social media, she stressed to the campaigns’ staffers that what they said and did would reflect on the candidate who employed them. “Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want on the front page of The New York Times,” she recalled telling staff. “The same thing I told my kids, I told my staffers.”

The AP found little questionable content in the ranks of Trump’s top officials. The campaign’s social media director, Dan Scavino, tweets prolifically but avoids discussing race and religion. Field organizers representing Trump’s campaign around the country, however, have had no such reservations, either before or during their employment with the campaign. Their judgment matters beyond the campaign because the paid staff of winning presidential candidates often receives jobs in the next administration.

Before being tapped as statewide director of coalitions, Craig Bachler of Bradenton, Florida, posted jokes in 2015 about Mexican accents superimposed over pictures of an overweight man wearing a sombrero. Bachler was named by the campaign as official staff in November, though there is no record he has been paid for his work. Bachler did not respond to a request for comment via Facebook or a message left at his office voicemail. After AP’s inquiries, Bachler blocked access to an AP reporter, and his Facebook account — which included a photo of Bachler with Trump — was scrubbed to remove the offensive post.

Teresa Unrue, a field organizer and graphic designer in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for Trump’s advance team, shared a video on her Facebook account July 11 — the week before the Republican National Convention — of a black man eating fried chicken while shaming fellow black people.

“Why are you mad about slavery?” the man asks. “Y’all weren’t no damn slaves.”

“Had me crack’n up!! Thank you!” Unrue wrote of the video. “Please share this with people.”

In a short phone conversation, Unrue said she tried to keep her personal social media comments positive and referred questions to the campaign.

Some posts fixated on stories of black-on-white violence with claims that news about such crimes was being suppressed.

“How about this little white boy being murdered by a black man,” grassroots organizer Annie Marie Delgado of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, wrote in December 2014 post, one of a number highlighting crimes against white people before Trump declared his candidacy. Delgado also shared a discredited, hoax photo of the State Department’s Kerry with Jane Fonda, and commented: “I say hang them!” She was paid $11,146 through April, according to campaign records.

Fear or dislike of Muslims was a recurring theme. Though Trump at one point proposed temporarily barring foreign Muslims from entering the country and scrutinizing the activities of mosques, he has sometimes distinguished Islamic extremists who pose a risk and those who don’t. “I love the Muslims,” Trump said in September, expressing willingness to appoint one to his Cabinet.

On Facebook, Mark Kevin Lloyd of Lynchburg, Virginia, who has been paid $36,000 as Trump’s field director in the state, shared a post June 30 calling Islam “a barbaric cult.” He shared a meme June 16, four days after the Orlando nightclub shooting by a heavily armed Muslim who professed allegiance to the Islamic State group. The meme said people should be forced to eat bacon before they can purchase firearms.

Lloyd declined to talk to the AP without the Trump campaign’s permission, citing his nondisclosure agreement with the campaign.

Other campaign staffers also singled out Muslims for special scrutiny.

Unrue shared the statement, “We need Islam control, not gun control.”

During her time with the campaign, Delgado deplored the appointment of a Muslim-American judge in New York.

“Step by step… this is how American culture will end,” she wrote Feb. 27, saying it was only reasonable to believe that the judge would implement Sharia law.

Delgado said in a telephone interview she stopped working for the campaign in April. She said she did not recall making some of the posts the AP asked her about and does not stand by others.

“If I read the whole thing, I probably wouldn’t have posted it,” she said of one post she shared, a short essay declaring that Muslims are inherently incapable of being good Americans.

Phillip Dann, a field organizer in Massachusetts who recently relocated to Florida, was paid $6,153 between January and March. He shared a meme mocking “Muslim sympathizers.” He also shared an article about Trump threatening to bring back waterboarding “or worse,” and added “where is the gasoline?” Dann told the AP in a phone interview he had no antipathy against Muslims in general.

Dann attributed inflammatory comments of other Trump staffers to the fact that the campaign had drawn on people inexperienced in politics. While he has been politically active for decades — originally as a leftist, he said — he described the field staff Trump acquired in the primary as unfamiliar with traditional campaign rules.

“We get hired because there was no one left,” Dann said. In a later email, he acknowledged some of his and other staff postings were “clearly over the top” — but said that criticism of the posts would amount to intimidation.

Scott Barrish, who earned $12,250 as Trump’s political director for the Tampa Bay, Florida, region, took his views beyond social media posts. In 2011, he drew local press coverage for writing to the head of the nonprofit Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group for Muslims in the U.S., saying he was wise to its plans to establish a totalitarian theocracy in the United states.

“This is us vs. you,” wrote Barrish. “In the great words of the late President Ronald Reagan, ‘I win, you lose!’”

Separately, Barrish tweeted in 2013 that he hoped America wasn’t headed for civil war, but “if our freedoms must be defended against a tyrannical government, so be it.”

“Those comments at that time were made by me and were my own personal view,” Barrish said in a brief interview with AP. He said he stopped working for Trump’s campaign after the Florida primary. “I don’t want to detract anything from the campaign.”

Barrish separately complained to editors at AP about its review of publicly accessible material on Trump employees’ social media accounts, saying “the liberal media, yellow journalists are really grasping at straws with their ad hominem circumstantial logical fallacies!”

Many accounts AP reviewed embraced conspiracy theories. Lloyd, the Virginia field director, said Obama is aiding the Iranian nuclear program as part of the president’s “‘final solution’ to the Israel problem,” a phrase evoking the Holocaust.

Delgado, the Florida organizer, circulated a theory that the company Edible Arrangements LLC is funneling money to Hamas, a claim that the Anti-Defamation League, a U.S. Jewish organization, has repeatedly dismissed as false.

Unrue posted a link to a website that alleged that the U.S. government assassinated Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this year after a history of heart trouble.

Racially charged social media posts from Trump campaign employees and associates have already been a repeated source of embarrassment. Trump fired one adviser who had used a racial slur to describe Obama’s children, and the campaign denounced Trump’s longtime Mar-a-Lago butler for saying he would support dragging Obama from the White House and hanging him.

Katie Packer, a 2012 Romney deputy campaign manager who opposes Trump, said the social media posts AP reviewed would have all been immediate disqualifiers for anyone who had applied for a campaign job — even if the postings weren’t visible to the public.

“A comfort level with people who think this is OK is indicative of what you think is OK,” Packer said. “Maybe the campaign just doesn’t know about this, but that’s malpractice.”


Associated Press writers Chad Day and Ted Bridis in Washington and Nick Riccardi in Denver contributed to this story.

Comments (67)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

        • Donald Trump’s paid campaign staffers have … called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged

          WRONG! Hanging is way too [obscene gerund redacted] good for him.

          In the wake of his treasonous, lying testimony before Senate Foreign Relations in April 1971 (to which he resorted after his phony 3 purple heart JKF hero from Massachusetts ploy failed to gain traction), he should have been indicted, given a General Court Martial, convicted and put before a firing squad. In seeking to volunteer to be a member of that detail, I recognize I would have been in a very long line of combat veterans whom he slandered for having committed “war crimes” in Vietnam. But I would gladly have waited in that long line for a chance to put a round into the chest of that lying traitor.

        • Thos, thank you for expressing an opinion on an issue related to this article. Any thoughts on the other staffers’ positions and way of expressing those positions? You know, like the “liver and cheese” thing? Are those the types of people you want running our country?

        • Thanks thos for telling it like it is. This is the real news. These wishy washy libs can’t handle the truth. Time for change is here.

        • advertiser1, you have to understand the depths of my revulsion for the Gutless Obsequious Pantywaists who took over the GOP more than a decade ago to appreciate that my prayers for the arrival of an up from the floor haymaker counterpuncher have finally been answered. Don Trump is the answer to my prayer and he, not those “followers” you refer to, will be the one selecting cabinet level posts to run their respective departments the way Trump wants them run.
          Do I agree with everything Trump has said? No. Will I probably have some differences of opinions with President-Elect Trump on whom he picks in the Executive Branch to run our spread for the next four years? Very likely. Does this diminish my gratitude even one iota for his having had the clankers to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park, despite the groans, whines, screeches and moaning of all the usual suspects (whose comfy way of life on the GOP gravy train will come to an abrupt end on 20 Jan 17)? By now you already know the answer to that one, eh?

        • And thank you, Sarge, for speaking out in a spirit of patriotism and in the interests of rescuing America from the demonic Left that now clearly threatens to unleash a level of internal strife not seen since 1861 so that they can extend their death grip on the levers of the only thing that matters to them, POWER.

        • “Sarge deflected again….”

          The AP article is itself a deflection, and responding to it would be falling into their obvious trap.

  • The FBI’s year-long investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server uncovered 14,900 emails and documents from her time as secretary of state that had not been disclosed by her attorneys, and a federal judge on Monday pressed the State Department to begin releasing emails sooner than mid-October as it planned.

    Justice Department lawyers said last week that the State Department would review and turn over Clinton’s work-related emails to a conservative legal group. The records are among “tens of thousands” of documents found by the FBI in its probe and turned over to the State Department, Justice Department attorney Lisa Ann Olson said Monday in court.

    The 14,900 Clinton documents are nearly 50 percent more than the roughly 30,000 emails that Clinton’s lawyers deemed work-related and returned to the department in December 2014.

  • ..”criticizing fellow blacks for ignorance, irresponsibility and having too many children.” What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that part of the reasons many are economically “disenfranchised”?

    • A big part of the economic disenfranchisement, Allaha, lies at the feet of the Democrat Party which deliberately used federal funded programs to destroy the once cohesive black nuclear family in order to create an underclass – – primarily black such is their racism – – that would be utterly dependent on government service and thus the PARTY of government service.

      Today Democrat Party gurus, aka white limousine liberals, are proud of their achievement using tax dollars to re-enslave blacks in America while proclaiming their love of ‘civil rights’. It has been one of the great grand slam scams of all times.

      Today Democrats are proud of the fact that something like 73% of black babies are born out of wedlock because the guaranteed single parent poverty that will ensue translates into a solid voting block of black folks Democrats have victimized.
      Thus do we see the real effect of Democrat policies: generation after generation of fatherless black boys who get their values, their ethics and their loyalties from the street gangsta “cultcha”.

      And behind carefully closed doors you can bet that lily white Democrats are gleefully rubbing their hands together perniciously in realizing they have purchased present and future political advantages with gallons of black blood – – and no end of the black on black massacre anywhere in sight.

  • …… did AP also do a search on Hillary’s staff Tweeting? You bet they won’t .Why? Because they are in the Tank with The Clinton’s! For the sake of an Honest conversation.betcha?The Tweets that Hillary’s staff puts out on Donald Trump are probably too graphic! And will need to be censored.Big time! C’mon AP let’s see hers… Fair!

    I’ve wasted enough time commenting this pupule AP story. Just another MSM story in an attempt of salvaging Sweet Hillary’s sinking poll numbers…… a fellow trollers says: Nothing to see,nothing see here, move along….move along.

    • Did you read the article? “The AP also reviewed the public social media accounts of more than three dozen employees of Hillary Clinton’s far larger campaign staff and found nothing as inflammatory. One staffer said Trump’s style of speaking reminded him of a roommate who had taken too many hallucinogenic mushrooms. AP also reviewed images attached to more than 19,000 stolen internal emails from the Democratic National Committee for racially or religiously inflammatory memes, finding nothing of note.”

      • Don’t so naive Steve.Is the word you’re thinking of called…. “Mondegreen”? Silly Steve,If you think AP is going to divulge all the dirt on Hillary? I have a real cheap Train you can have,it’s called the Rail. Nice try.

  • What a BS story. All the liberal media came out with this BS today. This election is going to be a landslide, despite the never ending campaigning and covering by the liberal media of Clinton. What a complete crock.

    • Klastri, you have to start paying attention. The blacks, Latinos are realizing Trump is right. They are living in the ghettos and barrios with the crime. Clinton raking in billions from minions like you and living high. You guys make me laugh.
      Wake up America. Make America Great.
      How was the tilapia from the stream under the viaduct?
      I hope you shared with allie.

  • Wow. Stop the marketing campaign already. If you’re at least “civil”, then agreed that we put this behavior to rest where it belongs. Vote your conscious.

      • Not to worry, says Scaramucci: “I don’t think the money is as big a consequence as other people think. Ideas matter way more than the money.” And Trump’s big idea, needless to say, is that ordinary Americans are getting the shaft in a “rigged” system that mainly benefits elites like Clinton.

      • You should be angry at etalavera for leading you to a bogus article based on a low-class, xenophobic smear campaign that was universally dismissed back in 2012 by both Republicans and Democrats.

        There are a lot of unscrupulous people putting out false information to fool the under-educated. Don’t be under-educated; that should be the first step to “Make America Great Again!”

    • Thanks for the link, I read that article and followed it up. Here’s what you need to know:

      In 2012, five Republican congressmen wrote a letter addressed to the State Dept Inspector General as a smear campaign against Abedin, an American-born Muslim, and an unfounded conspiracy theory.

      A number of highly respected parties, including John McCain and The Anti-Defamation League, dismissed the letter and recommended that the writers apologize publicly.

      So this is hogwash from 2012, retrieved by desperate Trump racists to—as always—change the subject. Trumpsters need to use “extreme vetting” in their research.

      You may apologize for using this bogus article, go back to finish high school, get a clue.

      • Emails released on Monday show that Hillary Clinton’s top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, left classified government information that needed to be burned in the front seat of her vehicle.

        “Favor” is the subject of Abedin’s July 20, 2009 email to Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s personal assistant. Judicial Watch obtained the records and hundreds more pages of Abedin emails as part of its ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department.

        “I’m going to have ambassador ride on next drive,” wrote Abedin. “There’s a bunch of burn stuff in the pocket of my front seat.”

        And seemingly realizing the significance of her error, Abedin asked Jiloty to move the documents to a more secure location.

        Read more:

  • a real racist takes action to remove the personal freedom of people the racist fears. a real racist calls the targeted population one with “no conscience, no empathy, . . . we have to bring them to heel.” a real racist labels inner city black youths “super predators” and seeks extended mandatory prison sentences for them.

    the female felon, a successful racist, manipulated the public’s fear and intentionally caused a bill to be passed that punished black youths with extended sentencing. that’s how a real racist acts.

    • Sure. The real racist is Hillary, not Trump. What is he polling in the African-American community again? 0.075% or something? But it must be like fox news says: it’s the greater than 99% of African-Americans that are crazy- surely not the confederate-flag waving mouth-breathers that populate his rallies. . .

      • Mouth breathers? You forgot to add knuckle draggers and bible thumpers. So it’s okay to stereotype folks who attend Trump rallies as crazy? Who’s the bigot now?

  • Let’s try out some Clinton tactics to deflect the blame for Trump. 1. This is old news, nobody is interested so let’s move on. 2. This hit piece is a vast left wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against Mr. Trump since the day he announce for president. 3. As the social media posts referenced in the article were from Trump staffers, he has a built-in excuse similar to the one Hillary used when she blamed State Dept. staffers for sending classified information. 4. When all else fails blame General Powell.

      • I critized the story. The SA deleted my early morning posts! My payback, I will not re-up my SA $100+ yearly subscription! hahahahahaha, delete this post too! but you ain’t getting my hard earned money!

  • While I am not a Trumpster, I am a #neverHillary, she must never be president, but this is a Trump hit piece by the AP who is so in the bag for HilLIARy that its bias shows like a bad case of rash. With the dirty tricks that HilLIARy and the corrupt Democrat Party is known for, how do we know that the postings were from posers? The posts are despicable, so I wouldn’t put it past HilLIARy and her henchmen to do just that.

  • Here’s one you won’t see.

    The US has entered into an exclusive contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices.
    The sale of these properties will fetch about $19 billion. A regular real estate commission will be paid to that company. That company is CRI, CRI will be making a minimum of 3% and as much as 6% commission on each and every sale.

    CRI belongs to a man named Richard Blum. Richard Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make a fortune from these transactions. (EST at between $950 million and $1.1 billion!!)

    How does a U.S. Senator from San Francisco manage to organize and lobby such a sweet deal?

    Has our government become so elitist that they have no fear of oversight? Isn’t this a cousin to insider trading? Pass this info on before it’s pulled from the Internet.

    Verified it on Snopes:

  • Yep, typical AP garbage to deflect away from the big news that broke today. More nauseous email drip. Does Crooked Clinton have no shame? Guess not.
    These were according to the story personal messages and had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. In contrast some of the DNC leaks were directly related to the Clinton campaign by executives. So much so Wassername and a few others had to resign.
    You guys have got to get better crud than that.

    • Sorry les. Asking if Hillary Clinton has no shame is like asking if Bill Clinton has no shame. The answer on both counts is no. The emotion that moderates social behavior for most of us is not present in the Clintons and almost all elites for that matter. So you get what you get with the the Clintons and their ilk. Compounding that problem is a highly dishonest media that enable the bad behavior. So while GW Bush was savaged over his response to Katrina, Barry can remain on the golf course with nobody in the media daring to ask why. And the Clintons can run their shadowy “charity” that is charitable mostly to them with zero scrutiny from progressive journalists. The media also allows high placed politicians to skim taxpayer money in a myriad of ways as you pointed out in the post office building sale. Politicians come to Washington to do good and stay to do well and the media has nothing to say about it.

  • It was reported that a huge crowd of 30,000 attended a Trump Rally in Akron, Ohio today. At the very same time the Democrats conducted a poll. The results were amazing.
    Clinton protestors spat on Trump donors at a fundraiser at the behest of her supporters alledgedly funded by George Sorrow. His teeny bopper girlfriend like 50 years younger sued his okole because he didn’t come through with the condo he promised her. He threw her out and married his yoga instructor instead. Could it be Crooked Hilliary’s yoga instructor? Another email leak. For crying out loud.
    She outspent Trump on attack ads 40-1 in Ohio and is falling in the polls. What’s going on? I guess money can’t buy you votes.
    All you demo rugs better get out there and pick up every bottle and can, remortgage your house, forget you child’s education fund, go without Obamacare, work part time at BurgerKing. Do something. Don’t waste your time writing cheap comments, crooked Hilliary needs the Cash. Now.

  • Why should this be a surprise? Richard Cohen, in the Washington Post, wrote,

    “For years now, the GOP has used the specter of cheating at the polls to try to suppress the black vote. The courts, more conservative than the GOP when it comes to conserving constitutional rights, have usually intervened, but the insistent whisper campaign has done vast damage.

    We are living now with the consequences of squalid decisions made years ago by opportunistic politicians — most notably Richard Nixon, whose Southern strategy welcomed racist pathogens into the Republican Party. They have taken hold. What was once the party of Lincoln has lost not only its bearings but also its very soul. Now it has a candidate who has denied the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president by promoting the racist birther movement and openly campaigns as a bigot — anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant. He has no policies, merely resentments.”

  • if Hillary gets elected there goes all our amendment’s of the U.S., better by your rugs and point them in the direction of Mecca. because a lot of Obama’s appointees in other parts of the white are Mulims who believe in Sharia law.

  • Obama said,
    Jul 27, 2016 – … a woman, not me, not Bill Clinton, nobody, more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president …
    What is that. A joke?

  • Anyone who does not see that we are at war with the religion of Islam, where fathers even use their children as living bombs, baseable on Koran teachings, must be blind.

  • these comments show that trumpy is supported by white supremacists, which he is himself. his new talk about inclusion and immigration is phony. he now realizes that he cannot win with only the vote of the supremacists so he is trying to court the black and latino votes. he could care less about them, he only wants their vote. this guy is a liar and also stupid.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up