Darren Beattie was fired by the White House after a report detailed his ties to a white nationalist group, but now the former aide has gotten a second chance in politics in the office of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz’s office announced Beattie’s hire this week to serve as a special adviser for speechwriting, Politico noted. Beattie had been fired from the White House in August of 2018 after reports uncovered a speech he gave at a conference held by the H.L. Mencken Club, which is called an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The watchdog group noted that the club was attended by an assortment of “white nationalists, pseudoacademic and academic racists.”
Matt Gaetz has drawn criticism for his connections to the far right. In early 2018, he drew widespread condemnation for inviting a notorious Holocaust denier and internet troll as a guest to Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Gaetz invited Charles C. Johnson, telling the The Daily Beast that the controversial figure “showed up at my office” the day of Trump’s speech so he gave him the extra ticket he had.
As the Boston Globe noted, Johnson gained a reputation online for his vocal promotion of many racist and anti-semitic ideas, including arguing that black people are “dumber” than white people and casting doubt on whether 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Johnson was photographed making a “white power” hand sign while standing next to controversial alt-right figure Richard Spencer and was kicked off Twitter after threatening a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The speech invite drew a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League, which wrote an open letter to Gaetz saying that the invite was an “insult to the memories of those killed in the Holocaust, to their families, and to the Jewish community to bring to the State of the Union as your guest a Holocaust denier.”
As the Daily Beast noted, Charles C. Johnson also wrote in support of Beattie after he appeared at the conference.
“Beattie’s offense is that he spoke at an event where — gasp! — there were white nationalists afoot!” wrote Johnson. “Heaven forbid that some thinkers — like the American founders who favored our country be majority white — think that the U.S. of A should stay majority white.”
GOP’s Matt Gaetz hires former White House official who was fired for attending white nationalist conference https://t.co/fiifcseCa5
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) April 19, 2019
Matt Gaetz’s office did not respond to a request from Politico for a comment on the hire of Darren Beattie.