What do America’s white nationalists want? They want them some Donald Trump. Over the past few months, the real estate mogul and all-around class act has become the darling of what, if words didn't mean anything, you might call America's white-nationalist intelligentsia -- the tribal lunatics who’d like the notorious “14 words” to become the first plank in the Republican Party platform.
But no Trump is an island, and every president needs a cabinet. What sort of rogues' gallery do the country's white nationalists dream of, when they're writing their Trump administration fan fiction? Well, thanks to the American Freedom Party, we now have an idea.
In a lengthy press release circulated Monday, AFP director Tom Sunic, who claims to be a Croatian diplomat, lays out the party's ideal membership of Trump’s cabinet, one that will definitely work to provide a “bulkhead against the forces that are destroying the peoples of European extraction worldwide.” Some of the people they’ve selected will be dismayed to have made the cut. Many others will be extremely alarmed. And Ann Coulter will probably think, “Yep, that makes sense.”
Some background: The American Freedom Party is one of the dozens of minor political parties in the U.S., and it's got its own candidate for president in the person of lifelong segregationist Robert Whitaker. Whitaker, as you might expect, is a super-chill guy who does things like try to put up billboards that read "Say NO to #WhiteGenocide!" But recently, and to his not inconsiderable dismay, Whitaker's seen his own AFP-ers flocking to Trump instead. The fun-lovers in the American Freedom Party see Trump's runaway momentum as a rare opportunity to bring their white nationalist views into the mainstream.
AFP's chairman, William Johnson, has supported Trump in a number of ways -- launching a super PAC, running robocalls, donating to his campaign and setting up a hotline for harassed Trump supporters, with mixed success. ("We had to wade through 30 snarky, silly, vulgar and mean voice messages," Johnson complained in an email to reporters last week. "Tell your juvenile readers to KNOCK IT OFF." Knock it off, guys. Mature readers, as you were.) Trump, meanwhile, has been remarkably slow to denounce white nationalists, stumbling last month over questions about whether he rejected the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. (Trump, who later emphatically disavowed Duke, has not given any kind of endorsement to the AFP's cabinet selections.)
Johnson told HuffPost that AFP directors discussed the fantasy cabinet at a meeting on Saturday, and "discussions and changes were offered by all." Unsurprisingly, AFP wants to fill a number of cabinet positions with white nationalists. Johnson himself, an attorney based in Los Angeles, is nominated as secretary of agriculture, apparently based on his experience as a "farmer." He notes that food stamps and food subsidies will be "powerful tools to achieve repatriation of... illegal aliens."
The proposed United Nations ambassador is Jared Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance, a pseudo-intellectual journal that imagines a war against “white America.” Taylor told HuffPost earlier this month that he doesn't consider himself a white supremacist, because he believes "East Asians are objectively superior to whites, on average, in many ways.” Meanwhile, the press secretary position in AFP's fantasy lineup goes to James Edwards, a pro-white radio host who managed, a few weeks ago, to land an interview with Trump's eldest son.
While it’s not surprising to see the AFP suggest so many of its own as suitable agency heads, a few of the selections are bound to put some people in an awkward position. You know how sometimes, someone who you're not really interested in will ask you out, and then you have to find a graceful way to decline? That, but with racists.
Some members of the AFP's dream team are the sorts of mainstream or at least mainstream-ish people whose names you may have even heard on the news. The AFP prefers New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for the vice presidential slot. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), they say, would slot into the attorney general’s office, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich would run the Pentagon, because he “informally advised Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and hopefully has learned that foreign entanglements are bad for America.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) would, to the AFP’s mind, make a “great choice for Energy Tsar.” And to make things not as #TrumpCabinetSoWhite as they could be, sleepy-eyed Dr. Ben Carson would take over the role of surgeon general.
From here, things grow less tethered to reality. Anti-immigration kook Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the AFP’s choice to run the State Department. The aforementioned Coulter would serve as -- oh, man, you guys -- the director of homeland security (because she would “do what needs doing,” and who thought those four words could ever sound so terrifying). Former Rep. Ron Paul is the AFP's top pick to run the Treasury, but in a nod to his advanced age, the white nationalists say they'd also accept his son Rand for that position.
There's also a smattering of out-of-left-field lefties, because white nationalists like economic populism as much as the next guy. The AFP has plum positions in mind for Green Party stalwart Jill Stein (EPA director), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (labor secretary) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, of all people, to act as U.S. trade representative. One imagines this is a vote of confidence Sanders could do without.
Also, fun fact: Elon Musk is the AFP’s pick to run the Transportation Department, because someone has to put white nationalists on Mars, apparently. (Actually, somebody really does.)
Finally, the AFP left what it considers to be the most important job in the Trump administration to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She would be President Trump’s chief of staff, a role that would involve dismantling a number of other government posts, among them the secretary of education. So, the most difficult and demanding job in any presidential administration would be given to someone famous for intermittently serving as Alaska’s governor, and who has floated between odd jobs ever since. Cool.
If there’s good news to be had here, it’s that it is extremely unlikely this white nationalist fantasy cabinet will ever be assembled. The bad news, of course, is that a cabinet handpicked by Trump himself could very well be much, much crazier.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist
Jason Linkins edits "Eat The Press" for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost politics podcast "So, That Happened." Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.