Political News

Rep. Matt Gaetz hires former White House speechwriter who attended 2016 conference with white nationalists

Posted April 19, 2019 4:53 p.m. EDT

— A former White House speechwriter who attended a 2016 conference featuring several white nationalists has been hired by a Republican congressman.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted Friday that he had hired Darren Beattie, who left the White House last year following CNN reporting in August that he spoke at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, which consistently draws famous white nationalists, such as Richard Spencer, to attend.

"Very proud to have the talented Dr. Darren Beattie helping our team as a Special Advisor for Speechwriting. Welcome on board!" Gaetz tweeted.

Beattie also tweeted the news of his new position, writing, "I am proud to advise @RepMattGaetz and thank him for the kind words."

Gaetz's office and Beattie did not respond to requests for comment on his anticipated start date.

The White House declined to tell CNN last year when exactly Beattie left the White House as a speechwriter and policy development aide. Beattie confirmed to CNN at the time that he spoke at the conference, stressing that his speech was inoffensive.

"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 last year. "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, a former visiting political science professor at Duke University, previously signed on to a letter from academics in support of President Donald Trump and accurately forecast Trump's 2016 victory.