A Republican congressman says he gave Chuck Johnson, a notorious right-wing troll who once denied the Holocaust, a ticket to the State of the Union because he seemed polite. Johnson has been banned from numerous platforms for his online “trolling,” or harassing those with whom he disagrees. At least on one occasion he denied the Holocaust.
Politico reported that Johnson showed up in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s office and talked his way into getting a ticket. Gaetz said a staffer googled Johnson after he had the ticket and discovered his notoriety. The congressman also said that Capitol Police asked to speak to Johnson when Gaetz’s office was clearing Johnson’s information through security. Neither incident led Gaetz to pull Johnson’s ticket to the State of the Union. “Unquestionably I don’t agree with everything Chuck Johnson has said and done,” Gaetz said. “But he was a perfectly polite guest.” Gaetz, speaking on the Fox Business Network, also denied that Johnson had denied the Holocaust. “He’s not a Holocaust denier, he’s not a white supremacist. Those are unfortunate characterizations of him, but I did not know he was as perhaps as infamous and controversial as he was when he came by to my office. … He was a polite and just entirely appropriate guest I thought.”
Johnson denied the Holocaust in an “Ask Reddit” session from January 2017. He also praised Holocaust deniers like David Irving and David Cole. “I do not and never have believed the six million figure,” said Johnson. “I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic. I think the Allied bombing of Germany was a war crime. I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real. I read the German War (highly recommend), Bloodlands, Mein Kampf, and all of David Irving.”
The Anti-Defamation League is not accepting the excuse that Gaetz was caught unaware. “Any measure of due diligence by you or your staff would have revealed that Johnson is an extremist and a Holocaust denier,” the ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a letter to Gaetz. “Your inattention – or uncaring attitude – about Johnson’s record of bigotry and harassment is shocking.”
CAP: Chuck Johnson