(JTA) — The White House has fired a policy aide and speechwriter with ties to white nationalists after reporters began asking questions about his employment.
According to CNN, Darren Beattie, a former professor and immigration hardliner, was fired after reporter Andrew Kaczynski asked about his attendance at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference at which he delivered a speech. White nationalist figures such as Richard Spencer, John Derbyshire and Robert Weissberg frequently attend the Mencken Club Conference.
“In 2016 I attended the Mencken conference in question and delivered a stand-alone, academic talk titled ‘The Intelligentsia and the Right.’ I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely,” Beattie told CNN. “It was the honor of my life to serve in the Trump Administration. I love President Trump, who is a fearless American hero, and continue to support him 100 percent. I have no further comment.”
In a tweet, Kaczynski wrote that he had “asked the White House last week about a speechwriter who was listed as speaking at a conference that included white nationalists Peter Brimelow, Jared Taylor and a host of VDARE writers. Friday evening they told me he was gone.” VDARE is an anti-immigration website.
Trump has struggled to shake off accusations of racism. After last year’s clashes between white supremacists and counterdemonstrators that left one dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump issued a statement saying there were “very fine people” on both sides. His former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is affiliated with the far right Breitbart News, which he has called a “platform for the alt-right.”