Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has recruited a speechwriter that had previously been a part of the Trump team—that is, until news of his connections to white nationalist groups became known, The Washington Times reports.
“Very proud to have the talented Dr. Darren Beattie helping our team as a Special Advisor for Speechwriting,” Gaetz announced in a tweet on Friday. "Welcome on board!”
In response, Beattie, a former instructor at Duke University and White House speechwriter before news of his involvement at an alt-right conference became widely reported, said, “I am proud to advise @RepMattGaetz and thank him for the kind words.”
CNN reported last August that Beattie's name was on a schedule of speakers at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference with the likes of Jared Taylor, leader of a self-proclaimed "race-realist" organization, and Peter Brimelow, founder of white-nationalist and anti-immigration website VDARE.
The White House soon announced the departure of Beattie from his position after the report.
“I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely,” he told CNN last year. “It was the honor of my life to serve in the Trump Administration. I love President Trump, who is a fearless American hero, and continue to support him one hundred percent.”
According to an article from The Daily Beast, Gaetz expressed a lack of concern for Beatte's 2016 conference attendance in a text message. A spokesperson for the Florida Republican has yet to respond to requests for comment on the hiring of Beattie.
Brimelow, whose site has been lambasted for anti-Semitism and racism by a variety of watchdog organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Deamation League, tweeted that he was "[very] impressed" with the recent hiring of his colleague from the conference. He said that "nobody said 'bad stuff'" at the event.