A former staffer for the Trump Administration, specifically a Department of Homeland Security employee handling immigration issues, has been revealed to have connections to the white supremacist and white nationalist movements. In email exchanges Ian M. Smith joked about a Friday night “free of Jews,” and discussed a desired meeting with a spokesperson for a group that advocates for “racial purity.”
Fortune reported that Ian M. Smith has now resigned his position at DHS, and sidestepped questions about white supremacist ties by saying he “didn’t attend any of the events” named in the emails or connected to the white nationalist groups.
However, he didn’t deny the email exchanges, which include:
- Real-estate agent Ben Zapp jokes about a “judenfrei” (free of Jewish people) Friday; Smith responds, “They don’t call it Freitag [Friday] for nothing.”
- Smith says he wants to speak to Matt Parrot, then a spokesperson for the Traditionalist Workers Party — a neo-Nazi group with a stated aim of “racial purity.”
- Smith was involved in email groups discussing the Alt-Right Toastmasters event.
- His contacts with alt-right leader Richard Spencer.
- Conact with Jared Taylor, founder of a white nationalist publication, American Renaissance, which the SPLC describes as producing pseudoscientific research purporting to prove white superiority over African Americans..
The Atlantic notes that Ian M. Smith’s connections to extremist groups go back before his work for the Trump administration. They include the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the ‘legal arm’ of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. SPLC’s information on FAIR describes it as anti-immigration, with connections to white supremacist groups and leaders, and cites connections to eugenics activists. A quote from a founder proposes that as “Whites see their power and control” in decline, there will be a decision to “go quietly” or create an “explosion.” Among other details about the IRLI’s efforts, the SPLC mentions a desire to halt birthright citizenship.
He also wrote a series of articles on immigration for the National Review, including one appropriating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2017 to assert that the Civil Rights leader would have been against immigration as it currently exists in the U.S. To support this, Smith cites a decades-old article decrying the “…almost total absence of black gardeners, busboys, chambermaids, nannies, janitors, and construction workers…” in an apparent attempt to suggest that immigrants have taken these jobs from African American workers.
Smith isn’t the first of Trump’s administration to be outed with ties to white supremacy. Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported on another staffer, speechwriter Darren Beattie, who was fired after reports that he had spoken at an event alongside another prominent white nationalist, Peter Brimelow, whose SPLC profile includes quotes describing non-white immigration as causing America’s downfall, and asserting that Hispanics “specialize in” child rape.
Both Ian M. Smith and Darren Beattie have left their posts as of this month. However, until their exposure, both were able to serve freely in the Trump administration, with their connections to extremists and white nationalist organizations providing those ideologies a clearly outlined direct line to the U.S. Government and the White House.