Trump Moves to Hire Laura Loomer, Anti-Muslim Activist

Former President Donald J. Trump has told aides to hire Laura Loomer, a far-right and anti-Muslim activist with a history of expressing bigoted views, for a campaign role, according to four people familiar with the plans.

Mr. Trump met with Ms. Loomer recently and directed advisers to give her a role in support of his candidacy, two of the people familiar with the move said. It is unclear whether she would serve on his campaign or the main super PAC backing his presidential bid. On Tuesday, after Mr. Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan, Ms. Loomer attended the former president’s speech at Mar-a-Lago, his resort and residence in Palm Beach, Fla.

Ms. Loomer has not yet been hired, the people familiar with the discussions said. Some of Mr. Trump’s aides are said to have concerns that such a hire will cause a backlash, given her history of inflammatory statements and her embrace of the Republican Party’s fringes.

Reached by phone on Friday morning, Ms. Loomer said, “Out of respect for President Trump, I’m not going to comment on private conversations that I had with the president.”

“The president knows I have always been a Trump loyalist,” she added, “and that I’m committed to helping him win re-election in 2024. He likes me very much. And it’s a shame that he’s surrounded by some people that run to a publication that is notorious for attacking him in order to try to cut me at the knees instead of being loyal to President Trump and respecting their confidentiality agreements.”

Ms. Loomer twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress and is known for offensive attention-grabbing behavior.

She once described Islam as a “cancer” and tweeted under the hashtag “#proudislamophobe,” and she has celebrated the deaths of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Who’s Running for President in 2024?

The race begins. Four years after a historically large number of candidates ran for president, the field for the 2024 campaign is starting out small and is likely to be headlined by the same two men who ran last time: President Biden and Donald Trump. Here’s who has entered the race so far, and who else might run:

Donald Trump. The former president is running to retake the office he lost in 2020. Though somewhat diminished in influence within the Republican Party — and facing several legal investigations — he retains a large and committed base of supporters, and he could be aided in the primary by multiple challengers splitting a limited anti-Trump vote.

Nikki Haley. The former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador under Trump has presented herself as a member of “a new generation of leadership” and emphasized her life experience as a daughter of Indian immigrants. She was long seen as a rising G.O.P. star but her allure in the party has declined amid her on-again, off-again embrace of Trump.

Vivek Ramaswamy. The multimillionaire entrepreneur and author describes himself as “anti-woke” and is known in right-wing circles for opposing corporate efforts to advance political, social and environmental causes. He has never held elected office and does not have the name recognition of most other G.O.P. contenders.

Asa Hutchinson. The former governor of Arkansas is banking that in a crowded field, enough G.O.P. voters will be searching for an outspoken critic of Trump to lift his dark-horse candidacy. He has already made several trips to Iowa, testing his campaign message on voters who flocked to Trump in the past two elections.

President Biden. While Biden has not formally declared his candidacy for a second term, and there has been much hand-wringing among Democrats over whether he should seek re-election given his age, he is widely expected to run. If he does, Biden’s strategy is to frame the race as a contest between a seasoned leader and a conspiracy-minded opposition.

Marianne Williamson. The self-help author and former spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey is the first Democrat to formally enter the race. Kicking off her second presidential campaign, Williamson called Biden a “weak choice” and said the party shouldn’t fear a primary. Few in Democratic politics are taking her entry into the race seriously.

Robert Kennedy Jr. The son and namesake of Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated while running for president in 1968, filed paperwork on April 5 to run for president as a Democrat. Kennedy, a political activist known most recently for his campaign to discredit coronavirus vaccines, has not made a formal announcement yet.

Others who are likely to run. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire are seen as weighing Republican bids for the White House.

In 2018, she was barred from Twitter for violating its hateful conduct policy. To protest the ban, Ms. Loomer, who is Jewish, affixed a yellow Star of David to her clothes — just as “Nazis made the Jews wear during the Holocaust,” she said — and handcuffed herself to the entrance to Twitter’s New York headquarters.

Twitter said she was violating its rules, while she said she was being barred for conservative activism. (She was reinstated after the billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform.)

Ms. Loomer sent The New York Times a screenshot of the tweet that prompted her ban for hateful conduct. In the tweet, she describes Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, as “pro Sharia” and “anti Jewish.”

“I know a lot of people don’t like me, but that’s their problem, not mine,” she said on Friday. “I have proven my loyalty to President Trump countless times over, and even if other people try to malign me and undermine President Trump’s wishes, I will continue to be a ride-or-die Trump supporter. Trump deserves loyalty and he deserves to have loyal people working for him who do not leak to the press.”

She was also barred from the ride-hail apps Lyft and Uber for making bigoted comments about Muslim drivers. Asked about these comments, in which she called on Twitter for “a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft,” Ms. Loomer said she was responding to a Muslim driver “throwing me out of an Uber for being a Jew on Rosh Hashana.”

In a 2017 appearance on a far-right podcast called Nationalist Public Radio, Ms. Loomer described her beliefs.

“Someone asked me, ‘Are you pro-white nationalism?’ Yes. I’m pro-white nationalism,” Ms. Loomer said. “But there’s a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy. Right? And a lot of liberals and left-wing globalist Marxist Jews don’t understand that.” She added, “So this country really was built as the white Judeo-Christian ethnostate, essentially. Over time, immigration and all these calls for diversity, it’s starting to destroy this country.”

Her remarks on the podcast were brought to light in 2021 by a blog called Angry White Men that tracked white supremacy movements.

In a statement, a representative for Mr. Trump did not address a question about whether plans were afoot to hire Ms. Loomer, saying instead, “The entire movement is united behind President Trump and his campaign, and it will take everyone rowing in the same direction in order to beat Biden and take our country back.”

Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign focused heavily on anti-Muslim sentiment, and as president, he barred travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. He has been a supporter of Ms. Loomer’s in the past, backing her Florida congressional campaign in 2020, when she ran to represent a Palm Beach County district that included Mar-a-Lago.

“Great going Laura,” he wrote on Twitter when she won the Republican primary. “You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”

She lost that race in the fall, in which she was supported by her friend Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longest-serving adviser. In the 2022 midterm elections, she came close to ousting the incumbent Republican in another Florida district, Representative Daniel Webster, in the primary, winning 44 percent of the vote.

“I ran for Congress as the first deplatformed candidate in United States history,” Ms. Loomer said on Friday. “I’m a Jewish conservative woman, a Trump loyalist, and a free speech absolutist and I also used to work for Project Veritas, too,” she added, referring to the conservative group that conducts sting operations on news outlets and liberal organizations. “It’s not like I’m some kind of fringe person. I won the G.O.P. primary in 2020, and President Trump literally voted for me.”

In recent months, Ms. Loomer has caught the attention of people in Mr. Trump’s inner circle — and Mr. Trump himself — by posting videos on social media that personally attack his potential rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Ms. Loomer has accused Mr. DeSantis and his wife, Casey, who had breast cancer, of wanting “to play the ‘cancer survivor’ card to make people think they are untouchable from criticism.”

On Twitter in February, Ms. Loomer posted: “Ron and Casey DeSantis are social climbers who will NEVER be Donald and Melania Trump,” adding, “Ron DeSantis will never have what it takes to be ICONIC like Trump.”

Ms. Loomer also organized a group of Trump supporters outside an event in Leesburg, Fla., where Mr. DeSantis was signing his new book.

“Anybody who follows me knows that I’m the person who has been independently leading the charge on opposition research, aggressively exposing damning and consequential stories about Ron DeSantis and other Trump opponents,” Ms. Loomer said on Friday.

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