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White Nationalist Trump Delegate Says He Won't Attend Convention

The delegate, William Johnson, is on a long list of those submitted by Trump’s campaign to the California Secretary of State.
Image: Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a rally at JetSmart Aviation Services on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Rochester, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)Mike Groll / AP

Self-described white nationalist William Johnson says he will not attend the Republican National Convention after Donald Trump's campaign says he was included by mistake on their list of California delegates.

“They did not intend to have me as a delegate and so I complied with their requirements and I resigned,” Johnson told NBC News in an interview, adding that he understands the label of white nationalism carries with it “negative baggage.”

“They need to coordinate everything and make this a successful and palatable campaign to the entire nation,” said Johnson, adding “My pulling back and not being a delegate is the best thing to do. So I am not bitter.”

The Trump campaign says that Johnson, the chairman of the American Freedom Party, was included as a delegate by mistake and that he was eliminated from a corrected "final" list of delegates in advance of California’s June 7 primary.

But Sam Mahood, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State, told NBC News late Tuesday that Johnson is locked into the position.

"Monday, May 9th was the statutory deadline to submit the delegate list," Mahood said. "Trump's campaign reached out to our office to revise that list today. We informed the campaign that we would not be accepting their revision because it was past the statutory deadline. William Johnson will remain on the Trump campaign's certified list of delegates."

Johnson has previously been identified as one of the individuals behind racially-charged robocalls in several states boosting Trump and lamenting that “the white race is dying out.” The American Freedom Party platform describes the group as "a Nationalist party that shares the customs and heritage of the European American people."

Johnson told NBC News Wednesday that he has independently decided to stop his efforts to help Trump by targeting the white nationalist community.

“From here on out, I don't think I will be doing any of that because it's not my place. It's the candidate's and the campaign and the party's place to do that," he said.

His inclusion on the Trump delegate slate was first reported by Mother Jones. Johnson told the publication “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody."

Trump's campaign initially blamed a "database error" for Johnson's inclusion on the list of delegates to the Republican National Convention in July.

“Yesterday, the Trump campaign submitted its list of California delegates to be certified by the Secretary of State of California,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. “A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016.”

But in a later statement, the campaign mentioned a review of "computer records" and said a correction was made before a "final list" was submitted to California officials.

"Upon careful review of computer records, the inclusion of a potential delegate that had previously been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016, was discovered," Trump's California state director, Tim Clark, said. "This was immediately corrected and a final list, which does not include this individual, was submitted for certification."