Blake Masters, a Republican Senate candidate from Arizona who won the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump, has been dogged by a series of youthful writings in which he lamented the United States’ entry in World Wars I and II, approvingly quoted a Nazi war criminal and pushed an isolationism that extended even beyond that of Mr. Trump.
In the most recent examples, uncovered and provided to The New York Times by opponents of Mr. Masters, he took to the CrossFit chatroom, his workout of choice, as a Stanford undergrad. in 2007 to espouse views that may not fit. the Republican electorate of 2022.
As he had done in other forums, Mr. Masters wrote on the CrossFit chat room that he opposed US involvement in both World Wars – although World War II did he conceded, “is harder to discuss because of the burning issue of the Holocaust (never mind that our friend Stalin murdered more than twice as many as Hitler…why do we forget that in schools? ).
He didn’t talk about Pearl Harbor or say whether he thought the United States should have ignored it.
Also on the CrossFit chat room, Mr Masters, then 20, argued that Iraq and al-Qaeda “did not pose substantial threats to Americans”.
“In my opinion, a true libertarian is against all wars that are not strictly defensive, and with the United States military (many of our best men and women!) sadly stationed in over 100 countries and bombing several dozen since the last declaration of war, defense is not the name of the game,” he told fellow CrossFit enthusiasts. “We should be more like the Swiss in this regard – decentralized and defensive.”
Such views might very well have fit with the Ron Paul brand of libertarianism to which Mr. Masters subscribed as a student. But they would be an extreme exception in the Senate, which he hopes to join next year.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Masters’ early writings have already become fodder in the hotly contested race for the Republican nomination to face Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, a freshman Democrat who is among the most vulnerable incumbents. This year. Arizona’s primary is August 2.
Another GOP candidate, businessman Jim Lamon, latched onto Mr. Masters’ 2006 writings on an early blogging site, Live Journal – reported by Jewish Insider in April and June – in which Mr. Masters had asserted that “‘unrestricted’ immigration is the only choice” for a libertarian-minded voter.
As a candidate, Mr. Masters, now 35, takes a position diametrically opposed to that of his younger self and in line with Mr. Trump’s views: he favors the militarization of the border and an end to of what he calls an “invasion” of immigrants entering the country. illegally.
Mr. Masters declined to comment for this article. His campaign manager, Amalia Halikias, released a statement calling him an “undisputed frontrunner”, noting Mr. Trump’s endorsement and expressing contempt for journalists “who spend their time browsing CrossFit message boards from 2007 onwards. to try to discredit him.
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She said voters cared more about “how we can solve the inflation crisis and the border crisis that Joe Biden and Mark Kelly gave us.”
Mr. Masters has also been denounced for contemporary statements, such as his April 11 remark that the problem of gun violence in the United States boils down to “Black people, frankly”, and his apparent adherence to the “replacement theory”. enacted by white supremacists when he accused Democrats of trying to flood the country with immigrants “to change the demographics of our country.”
Mr. Masters’ early writings covered a wide range of topics and touched on a number of pitfalls for someone with mainstream political aspirations.
In a 2006 article on the libertarian site LewRockwell.com, he rehashed an elaborate conspiracy theory about the United States’ entry into World War I, implying a link between the banking “House of Morgan and Rothschild” and the inability to alert passengers of American steamships. to the German threats that preceded the sinking of the Lusitania. His main source was C. Edward Griffin, an ardent libertarian who once said that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – a notorious anti-Semitic fake – “accurately describes much of what is happening in our world today. “.
The message ended with what Mr Masters called a “poignant quote” from Hermann Goering – Hitler’s right-hand man and one of the most powerful Nazis in the Third Reich.
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, attacked Mr Masters’ invocations of Goering and Griffin, calling them “historical figures who doctored some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes imaginable”.
“Any student of history should know not to raise leaders who once gave voice to dangerous anti-Semitic tropes such as the notorious ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,'” Greenblatt said.
He added: “Regardless of his age at the time, Mr. Masters must repudiate his decision to support these men and their ideas and condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms.
Mr. Lamon, for his part, took political advantage by running an advertisement portraying Mr. Masters as a conspiratorial anti-Semite.
Mr. Masters posted a reply in which he said he knew “left-wing media” would “try to smear me” and “call me a racist, sexist and terrorist”. He added, “Well, it turns out the losing Republicans would too.”
Mr. Masters defended his 2006 writings as the juvenile scribbles of a teenager recoiling from the war in Iraq. “I was 19, writing against the war in Iraq – a stance that turned out to be prescient,” he told Jewish Insider in April. “I have gone too far and declared that no recent American war has been just.” He added: “I guess it was only a matter of time before I was called an anti-Semite for criticizing wartime propaganda in an essay I wrote as a teenager.”
Yet as a student at Stanford, one of the nation’s most elite universities, he should have known better, said Abe Foxman, a longtime leader of the Anti-Defamation League, now its national director emeritus. .
“While Masters may not have known about Griffin’s anti-Semitism, as an undergraduate at Stanford he would certainly have known who Goering was and what he was doing – especially citing him during the trials of Nuremberg,” Mr. Foxman said.
In 2007, Mr. Masters expanded on his libertarian critique of the United States in the oddly chosen forum of CrossFit discussion boards.
“To whoever comes back to me with the assertion that Iraq and even al-Qaeda pose substantial threats to Americans, I have little more to say than I have come to the opposite conclusion,” he said. -he writes.
He called the United States “an empire-run nation-state (soft and tough) with security-hungry sheep” and called the Federal Reserve Board a “semi-private banking cartel.”
And, on the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Masters – now adopting Mr. Trump’s “America First” slogan – asked: “What about non-Americans in The twin towers ? Personally, I see no reason to lament the disappearance of innocent “Americans” any more than those of other nationalities.
Finally, on September 25, 2007, then-Stanford junior Mr. Masters bade farewell to his CrossFit interviewees, signing off with a final expression of sophomoric-sounding assurance.
“I don’t mean disrespect – but it takes years to figure out where I’m coming from, let alone agree or disagree,” he wrote. “To expect NOT to receive the usual (smart, perhaps, but still typical) objections and questions in response to a post like mine above would be silly…I don’t know what gave me want to try anyway.”
He punctuated it with a winking emoticon.