Trump faults computer ‘error’ for listing white supremacist as delegate
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Trump faults computer ‘error’ for listing white supremacist as delegate

Campaign amends slate of potential Republican delegates in California to remove William Johnson

Attorney William Johnson, a leader of the American Freedom Party and self-proclaimed white nationalist, pauses for photos in his office on May 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Attorney William Johnson, a leader of the American Freedom Party and self-proclaimed white nationalist, pauses for photos in his office on May 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Donald Trump’s campaign said Tuesday that a computer problem resulted in a prominent white nationalist being mistakenly included on a list of his potential California delegates, an embarrassment for a candidate who has been criticized before for being too slow to distance himself from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The campaign said in a statement that the name has been withdrawn and a corrected list resubmitted to state officials.

Trump California director Tim Clark released a statement faulting a “database error” for the inclusion of William Johnson, which said he been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016.

The leader of the white supremacist American Freedom Party and noted Trump supporter, Johnson has “promoted the idea of a white ethno-state in America,” the Anti-Defamation league noted in a statement urging Trump to renounce Johnson’s support.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts on May 2, 2016 in Carmel, Indiana. Trump continues to campaign leading up to the state of Indiana's primary day on Tuesday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts on May 2, 2016 in Carmel, Indiana. Trump continues to campaign leading up to the state of Indiana’s primary day on Tuesday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

On Tuesday, Johnson told The Associated Press that he received an email from Clark earlier Tuesday informing him that his name had been “erroneously listed” as a delegate. Johnson runs the American National Super PAC, which made automated phone calls supporting Trump’s candidacy across the country.

The Los Angeles attorney told the AP it had been a mistake for him to submit his name for consideration. In California, Republican candidates pick potential delegates to the GOP’s summer convention. They are selected based on the outcome of voting in the state’s June 7 primary.

“I was naive,” Johnson said. “I thought people wouldn’t notice, and if they did notice I didn’t think it would be a big deal.” He added that he is resigning from his role as delegate, effective immediately.

Johnson’s appearance on the list was first reported by Mother Jones magazine.

Previously, Trump has drawn criticism for hesitating before denouncing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who said not voting for Trump was “treason to your heritage.”

Johnson said he never disclosed his white nationalist beliefs in his application.

“You answer the questions that they ask, and they asked, ‘What have you done to support Donald Trump?’ They didn’t ask, ‘Are you a white nationalist?” he said.

Trump “wants to build the wall (along the border with Mexico). He wants to cut off illegal immigration, and he wants to cut back on foreign trade, bring jobs back to America,” Johnson added. “We believe Donald Trump will help lead the country in a proper direction.”

Sam Mahood, a spokesman for the California Secretary of State’s Office, said the Trump campaign attempted to submit a revised list of delegates to the office Tuesday, a day after the deadline. It was rejected.

However, Mahood said state election law allows candidates to submit a list of alternates within 30 days after the June 7 primary. He said it would be up to the Republican National Committee or the state Republican Party to set the process for replacing a delegate with an alternate.

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