A speechwriter for President Donald Trump who attended a conference frequented by white nationalists has left the White House.
CNN’s KFile reached out to the White House last week about Darren Beattie, a policy aide and speechwriter, who was listed as speaking at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference.
The Mencken Club, which is named for the early 20th century journalist and satirist whose posthumously published diaries revealed racist views, is a small annual conference started in 2008 and regularly attended by well-known white nationalists such as Richard Spencer. The schedule for the 2016 conference listed panels and speeches by white nationalist Peter Brimelow and two writers, John Derbyshire and Robert Weissberg, who were both fired in 2012 from the conservative magazine National Review for espousing racist views.
Other speakers from the 2016 conference are regular contributors to the white nationalist website VDare. Jared Taylor, another leading white nationalist, can be heard at the conference in 2016 on Derbyshire’s radio show along with Brimelow.
The White House, which asked CNN to hold off on the story for several days last week declined to say when Beattie left the White House. Beattie’s email address at the White House, which worked until late Friday evening, was no longer active by Saturday.
“Mr. Beattie no longer works at the White House,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN on Friday night. “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”
Beattie confirmed to CNN he spoke to the 2016 conference, saying his speech was not objectionable. Two days after publication of this story, Beattie provided CNN with what he said was the full text of his speech at the conference.
“In 2016 I attended the Mencken conference in question and delivered a stand-alone, academic talk titled ‘The Intelligentsia and the Right.’ I said nothing objectionable and stand by my remarks completely,” he told CNN’s KFile in an email on Saturday. “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. I have no further comment.”
Beattie gained prominence in 2016 when as a visiting instructor in Duke University’s political science department he signed on to a letter of academic scholars supporting Trump. He correctly predicted Trump would win the 2016 presidential election.
As a professor, Beattie wrote an editorial for Duke’s student newspaper in support of the travel ban and has said he supported Trump’s candidacy from the beginning, citing his position on immigration.
Update: This story has been updated with additional response from Darren Beattie.