- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, has hired a speechwriter who previously worked for President Trump until the White House was questioned about his ties to white nationalists.

“Very proud to have the talented Dr. Darren Beattie helping our team as a Special Advisor for Speechwriting,” Mr. Gaetz announced Friday on Twitter. “Welcome on board!”

“I am proud to advise @RepMattGaetz and thank him for the kind words,” replied Mr. Beattie, a former Duke University instructor who subsequently served as a member of the Trump administration prior to revelations emerging last year about his involvement in a conference featuring several far-right commentators.

CNN first reported last August that Mr. Beattie appeared on the schedule to speak at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference alongside Jared Taylor, the leader of a self-described “race-realist” group, and Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigration VDARE website, effectively listing the president’s future speechwriter in the same program as several controversial participants widely considered to be white nationalists.

The White House initially asked CNN to postpone its reporting about Mr. Beattie’s involvement in the conference before tersely announcing his departure from the administration several days later, the network reported.

“I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely,” Mr. Beattie told CNN at the time. “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.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Gaetz did not immediately return a message sent over the weekend seeking comment on Mr. Beattie’s hiring.

Mr. Gaetz said in a text message that he had no issues with Mr. Beatte’s appearance at the 2016 conference, The Daily Beast reported.

Mr. Taylor, a 67-year-old self-described “white advocate,” is the founder of the New Century Foundation group responsible for publishing the far-right American Renaissance website. He was permanently suspended from Twitter in 2017 after the social network began banning users affiliated with violent extremist groups. He did not immediately return a request for comment.

Mr. Brimelow, 71, launched VDARE in 1999 after a stint editing the National Review. The site has since been accused of racism and anti-Semitism by watchdog groups including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Reacting on Twitter, Mr. Brimelow said he was “[very] impressed” with Mr. Gaetz for hiring Mr. Beattie and insisted that “nobody said ‘bad stuff’” during the 2016 conference.

The Washington Post previously reported that Mr. Beattie was asked to resign by the White House over his involvement in the 2016 event and was fired when he refused. 

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