The 19-year-old Michigan man who was arrested for calling threats of violence in to CNN's Atlanta, Georgia headquarters told high school classmates he was fond of Adolf Hitler and that "the Holocaust was exaggerated", the Washington Post reports.
Brandon Greisemer was also a fan of President Donald Trump.
Anthony Luongo, who was a classmate of Griesemer’s in high school until both graduated last year, described him as a Trump supporter who “came in after the election and was very happy” and compared Griesemer’s reaction to that of a fan whose team had won a big game.
During the first few weeks of school, Luongo also noticed that Griesemer was “openly, shamelessly” reading Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” before class began.
The classmate said he did not think Griesemer agreed with the book but later heard him say that he "kind of identified with the National Socialist Party".
When asked if he meant he identified with Hitler, Griesemer “basically told me that, yeah, that was kind of how his ideology was,” Luongo, now a student at Michigan State University, said in an interview Tuesday.
Luongo said Griesemer made him feel uncomfortable after making such revelations, and was not surprised to hear of the threatening phone calls to CNN:
“If it was going to be a person that I knew, I would have probably guessed it would be that kid,” Luongo said.
Griesemer's father, on the other hand, says his son "really didn't mean any of it", telling the Post,
“He didn’t know what he was saying, the seriousness of it. We’re not even gun owners or anything like that. We don’t have any, neither does he.” Declining to comment further, the man said that “more will come out later.”