Two Republican congressmen met with a well-known conservative troll – who was banned from Twitter after raising money to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist and has a history of Holocaust denial – on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, their offices confirmed.
Reps. Phil Roe of Tennessee and Andy Harris of Maryland met with Chuck Johnson to discuss genome sequencing, according to aides to both members.
A reporter with Huffington Post spotted the group walking in the building and snapped a photograph.
The meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and “there were no additional takeaways or promises for further action,” an aide to Roe told CNN.
“Congressman Roe was not aware of this individual’s viewpoints nor were they discussed during their brief meeting, and had the congressman been aware he would not have agreed to take the meeting. White supremacist and anti-Semitic views are abhorrent and have no place in our society,” his office said in a statement.
Roe’s office said that Johnson presented himself as “Charles Johnson” and that his controversial views were not “readily discoverable” when Roe accepted the meeting. The congressman is also an OBGYN.
Harris told CNN in a statement: “I am unaware of his previous associations, but we had a discussion involving his business with genetic sequencing. Of course I disavow and condemn white supremacy and anti-Semitism.” Harris told CNN the men did not discuss genetics in the context of race.
Neither office clarified beyond its public statements why they had taken the meeting with Johnson on genetic sequencing.
Johnson did not return a request for comment from CNN.
Johnson, who has questioned the number of deaths in the Holocaust, was the invited guest of Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, last year, something that prompted a concerned letter from the Anti-Defamation League to Gaetz who publicly downplayed the episode.