Continue reading the main story
Former President Donald J. Trump recently told aides to hire Laura Loomer, a far-right and anti-Muslim activist with a history of expressing bigoted views, for a campaign role, according to four people familiar with the plans.
Mr. Trump met with Ms. Loomer recently and directed advisers to give her a role in support of his candidacy, two of the people familiar with the move said. On Tuesday, after Mr. Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan, Ms. Loomer attended the former president’s speech at Mar-a-Lago, his resort and residence in Palm Beach, Fla.
Some of Mr. Trump’s aides were said to have concerns that such a hire would cause a backlash, given her history of inflammatory statements and her embrace of the Republican Party’s fringes.
That proved to be correct: The New York Times’s report on the potential hire ignited a firestorm among some of Mr. Trump’s most vocal conservative supporters, and by late Friday, a high-ranking campaign official said Ms. Loomer was no longer going to be hired.
Reached by phone on Friday morning, Ms. Loomer said, “Out of respect for President Trump, I’m not going to comment on private conversations that I had with the president.”
“The president knows I have always been a Trump loyalist,” she added, “and that I’m committed to helping him win re-election in 2024. He likes me very much. And it’s a shame that he’s surrounded by some people that run to a publication that is notorious for attacking him in order to try to cut me at the knees instead of being loyal to President Trump and respecting their confidentiality agreements.”
Ms. Loomer twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress and is known for offensive attention-grabbing behavior.
Who’s Running for President in 2024?
Card 1 of 8
The race begins. Four years after a historically large number of candidates ran for president, the field for the 2024 campaignis starting out small and is likely to be headlined by the same two men who ran last time: President Biden and Donald Trump. Here’s who has entered the race so far, and who else might run:
Donald Trump. The former president is running to retake the office he lost in 2020. Though somewhat diminished in influencewithin the Republican Party — and facing several legal investigations— he retains a large and committed base of supporters, and he could be aided in the primary by multiple challengers splitting a limited anti-Trump vote.
Nikki Haley. The former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador under Trump has presented herself as a member of “a new generation of leadership”and emphasized her life experience as a daughter of Indian immigrants. She was long seen as a rising G.O.P. star but her allure in the party has declinedamid her on-again, off-again embrace of Trump.
Vivek Ramaswamy. The multimillionaire entrepreneur and author describes himself as “anti-woke” and is known in right-wing circles for opposing corporate efforts to advance political, social and environmental causes. He has never held elected office and does not have the name recognition of most other G.O.P. contenders.
Asa Hutchinson. The former governor of Arkansas is one of a relatively small number of Republicans who have been openly critical of Trump. Hutchinson has denounced the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and said Trump should drop out of the presidential race.
President Biden. While Biden has not formally declared his candidacy for a second term, he is widely expected to run. But there has been much hand-wringing among Democratsover whether he should seek re-election givenhis age. If he does run, Biden’s strategyis to frame the race as a contest between a seasoned leader and a conspiracy-minded opposition.
Marianne Williamson. The self-help author and former spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey is running for a second time. In her 2020 campaign, the Democrat called for a federal Department of Peace, supported reparations for slavery and called Trumpism a symptom of an illness in the American psyche that could not be cured with political policies.
Others who might run. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolinaand Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshireareseen as weighing Republican bids for the White House. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime vaccine skeptic, filed paperwork to run as a Democrat.
She once described Islam as a “cancer” and tweeted under the hashtag “#proudislamophobe,” and she has celebrated the deaths of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
In 2018, she was barred from Twitter for violating its hateful conduct policy. To protest the ban, Ms. Loomer, who is Jewish, affixed a yellow Star of David to her clothes — just as “Nazis made the Jews wear during the Holocaust,” she said — and handcuffed herself to the entrance to Twitter’s New York headquarters.
Twitter said she was violating its rules, while she said she was being barred for conservative activism. (She was reinstated after the billionaire Elon Musk bought the platform.)
Ms. Loomer sent The New York Times a screenshot of the tweet that prompted her ban for hateful conduct. In the tweet, she describes Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, as “pro Sharia” and “anti Jewish.”
“I know a lot of people don’t like me, but that’s their problem, not mine,” she said on Friday. “I have proven my loyalty to President Trump countless times over, and even if other people try to malign me and undermine President Trump’s wishes, I will continue to be a ride-or-die Trump supporter. Trump deserves loyalty and he deserves to have loyal people working for him who do not leak to the press.”
She was also barred from the ride-hail apps Lyft and Uber for making bigoted comments about Muslim drivers. Asked about these comments, in which she called on Twitter for “a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft,” Ms. Loomer said she was responding to a Muslim driver “throwing me out of an Uber for being a Jew on Rosh Hashana.”
How Times reporters cover politics.We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.
Learn more about our process.
In a 2017 appearance on a far-right podcast called Nationalist Public Radio, Ms. Loomer described her beliefs.
“Someone asked me, ‘Are you pro-white nationalism?’ Yes. I’m pro-white nationalism,” Ms. Loomer said. “But there’s a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy. Right? And a lot of liberals and left-wing globalist Marxist Jews don’t understand that.” She added, “So this country really was built as the white Judeo-Christian ethnostate, essentially. Over time, immigration and all these calls for diversity, it’s starting to destroy this country.”
Her remarks on the podcast were brought to light in 2021 by a blog called Angry White Men that tracked white supremacy movements.The news of Ms. Loomer’s potential hire drew criticism from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a far-right Trump ally.
“She spent months lying about me and attacking me just because I supported Kevin McCarthy for Speaker and after I had refused to endorse her last election cycle,” Ms. Greene wrote on Twitter.
Warning that Ms. Loomer “can not be trusted,” Ms. Greene said of Mr. Trump, “I’ll make sure he knows.”
Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign focused heavily on anti-Muslim sentiment, and as president, he barred travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. He has been a supporter of Ms. Loomer’s in the past, backing her Florida congressional campaign in 2020, when she ran to represent a Palm Beach County district that included Mar-a-Lago.
“Great going Laura,” he wrote on Twitter when she won the Republican primary. “You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”
She lost that race in the fall, in which she was supported by her friend Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longest-serving adviser. In the 2022 midterm elections, she came close to ousting the incumbent Republican in another Florida district, Representative Daniel Webster, in the primary, winning 44 percent of the vote.
“I ran for Congress as the first deplatformed candidate in United States history,” Ms. Loomer said on Friday. “I’m a Jewish conservative woman, a Trump loyalist, and a free speech absolutist and I also used to work for Project Veritas, too,” she added, referring to the conservative group that conducts sting operations on news outlets and liberal organizations. “It’s not like I’m some kind of fringe person. I won the G.O.P. primary in 2020, and President Trump literally voted for me.”
In recent months, Ms. Loomer has caught the attention of people in Mr. Trump’s inner circle — and Mr. Trump himself — by posting videos on social media that personally attack his potential rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
Ms. Loomer has accused Mr. DeSantis and his wife, Casey, who had breast cancer, of wanting “to play the ‘cancer survivor’ card to make people think they are untouchable from criticism.”
On Twitter in February, Ms. Loomer posted: “Ron and Casey DeSantis are social climbers who will NEVER be Donald and Melania Trump,” adding, “Ron DeSantis will never have what it takes to be ICONIC like Trump.”
Ms. Loomer also organized a group of Trump supporters outside an event in Leesburg, Fla., where Mr. DeSantis was signing his new book.
“Anybody who follows me knows that I’m the person who has been independently leading the charge on opposition research, aggressively exposing damning and consequential stories about Ron DeSantis and other Trump opponents,” Ms. Loomer said on Friday.
Continue reading the main story