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Trump Speechwriter Attended Conference With White Nationalists

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U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.,August 16, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.,August 16, 2018. Credit: Oliver Contreras/Pool via Bloomberg

A speechwriter for U.S. President Donald Trump no longer works at the White House after CNN reported Sunday that he had attended a conference popular with white nationalists.

CNN revealed that speechwriter Darren Beattie had been listed as speaking at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, named after the legendary early 20th-century journalist whose posthumously published diary revealed him as a racist and anti-Semite. Fellow speakers at the conference, according to its schedule, included the white nationalist Peter Brimelow and two writers who were fired from the conservative magazine National Review for racism. Richard Spencer, perhaps the country’s best-known white supremacist, has participated in the conference multiple times in recent years.

Beattie’s White House email address was active as of Friday night, CNN reported; that night, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN that Beattie “no longer works at the White House.”

The Washington Post reported that Beattie, who periodically worked on projects with White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, had refused to resign, arguing that the points he made at the conference were uncontroversial.

“In 2016 I attended the Mencken conference in question and delivered a stand-alone, academic talk titled ‘The Intelligentsia and the Right,’” Beattied told CNN in an emailed statement on Saturday. “I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely. 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 one hundred percent. I have no further comment.”

Beattie worked as a professor of political science at Duke University during the 2016 election and was one of few professors to have publicly supported Trump during the campaign and accurately predicted his election victory.

Beattie’s PhD thesis, which according to his Mencken Club bio was largely completed in Germany, was about the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who was a member of the Nazi Party. Beattie wrote in his thesis that Heidegger’s Nazi affiliation was “highly troublesome” but argued that studying his philosophy was still worthwhile.

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