AP Investigation: Donald Trump Failed To Vet Staff That Promoted Racism, Anti-Muslim Sentiments

AP Investigation: Donald Trump Failed To Vet Staff Promoting Racism, Anti-Muslim Sentiments

The Associated Press has found that current and former paid staff members of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have used their personal social media accounts to express negative and racist views. Racist posts regarding Mexicans, Muslims, and African-Americans were found in addition to a call to have Secretary of State John Kerry hanged. There were also posts that called for the preparation of a civil war.

Of the 120 known paid Donald Trump staff members, AP was able to examine approximately 50 of their social media accounts and found seven that openly expressed views that were racist, violent, or hostile towards Muslims. Examples of what was found include a graphic designer approving a video of a black man eating fried chicken and ridiculing other blacks and posts ridiculing Mexican accents, according to CBS affiliate WCBS.

Anti-Muslim sentiment included saying that Muslims are unfit to be US citizens, and a Trump field organizer declaring that Muslims were seeking to impose Sharia law in America and that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for a fight.”

AP Investigation: Donald Trump Failed To Vet Staff That Promoted Racism, Anti-Muslim Sentiments
Muslim students before their removal from Kansas rally. [Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]

These findings are coming at a time when Donald Trump is scrambling to overcome a slip in the polls, and although there has been some recovery, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is still ahead by five points in most polls.

Donald Trump is trying to be more palatable and inclusive of minorities; he recently loosened his stance on deporting 11 million undocumented Mexicans, reports the Los Angeles Times, and his pep talk directed at African-Americans — with mostly whites in attendance at a rally in Dimondale, Michigan — stating things are already bad for them so “what do you have to lose?” are his latest attempt to gain voters from those who don’t see his appeal.

AP’s peek into Hillary Clinton’s staff found nothing inflammatory and her staff of 650 is much bigger than Trump’s. Image attachments from the more than 19,000 stolen Democratic National Committee internal emails found nothing racially or religiously inflammatory.

Craig Bachler officially became part of Trump’s staff in November, and several inflammatory Facebook posts about Mexican accents he posted in 2015 have been scrubbed after the Associated Press tried several times through various social media forums to get a comment regarding their findings.

Staff member Teresa Unrue posted the video of a black man eating chicken while criticizing other blacks for irresponsibility, ignorance, and having too many children, and she urged others to share the video on July 11.

“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.”

Unrue joined fellow staff members Phillip Dann, a field organizer; Mark Kevin Lloyd, a field director; and grassroots organizer Annie Marie Delgado in expressing negative opinions of Muslims on their personal accounts.

AP Investigation: Donald Trump Failed To Vet Staff That Promoted Racism, Anti-Muslim Sentiments
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Scott Barrish resigned from the Trump campaign after the Florida primary because he didn’t want his earlier comments regarding Muslims to become a distraction. In 2011, he received local news coverage for writing to the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, accusing the non-profit organization of trying to establish a totalitarian theocracy in the United States.

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

Donald Trump’s camp has fired campaign staff in the past for racist social media posts. One adviser was fired, according to the AP story, for using a racial slur to describe Malia and Sasha Obama, and a Mar-a-Lago butler was publicly admonished for saying that he would support dragging President Obama from the White House and hanging him.

The Associated Press informed Donald Trump’s campaign of their findings a month ago but received no comment even after several requests. While neither Clinton’s nor Trump’s camps cared to share their vetting process, Beth Myers, a former Mitt Romney aide who worked for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, said staffers are schooled on how to present themselves in public.

“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.”

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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