A campaign aide with suspected ties to white supremacists who works for the campaign of Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee running for U.S. Senate in Virginia, continues his involvement with the campaign, despite his links to far-right personalities and groups. Earlier this week, Stewart campaign aide Brian M.H. Landrum, an advisor to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, was photographed at an October 9 Stewart rally staged outside an office of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Also in attendance was Scott Pressler, of the anti-Muslim group ACT! For America, holding a sign that read “Blacks Before Illegals.”
The public flaunting of Landrum’s continued involvement with the campaign comes just weeks after the New York Times magazine published a lengthy article on Stewart’s own links to white nationalists, such as Jason Kessler, who organized last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Landrum’s name appeared in a leaked log of a chat that included organizers of this year’s follow-up rally, staged in Washington, D.C., to the 2017 Unite the Right convening in Charlottesville. The logs were revealed through records requests by the Richmond Times-Dispatch to attorneys for the City of Charlottesville. That chat logs only contain one message from an account displaying Landrum’s name, writing “what in all fuck,” and four laughing emojis in reaction to an image posted by Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler. Landrum left the group chat on June 19.
When pressed by the Times-Dispatch in July, Landrum would not confirm or deny his participation in the chat log, instead telling the paper, “People get invited to Facebook group chats all the time without their permission.” The Times-Dispatch reported at the time that Stewart’s campaign “offered no explanation for why Landrum was in the chat group where Kessler and fewer than two dozen other members discussed permits, speaker lineups and other strategies for a second rally.”
Stewart was originally listed as a speaker for the September 8 Mother of All Rallies, another far-right gathering in Washington, D.C., that featured white nationalists and members of various hate groups, but he was removed from the roster after Right Wing Watch reported on his apparently planned participation.
White supremacists like Kessler have championed ICE in the face of damning news reports about the way it treats children, with many of his colleagues arguing online that the inhumane treatment could act as a deterrent for immigrants and advance their agenda of forcefully preserving a white supermajority in the United States.
Stewart once praised, but since disavowed, Paul Nehlen, an anti-Semite who was then running against House Speaker Paul Ryan for the Republican nomination for Ryan’s congressional seat. Stewart’s campaign has earned the endorsement of neo-Confederate Richard Hines of Save Southern Heritage and has attracted the likes of Kessler, whom Stewart has also since disavowed. Although Stewart has publicly denounced the extremists with whom he has affiliated in his rise to the GOP Senate nomination, their hardcore anti-immigrant agenda has undoubtedly influenced the policy positions espoused by Stewart in his campaign.
The GOP has struggled with Stewart’s tie-ins with right-wing extremists to the point where the National Republican Senatorial Committee decided not to invest in his campaign. Stewart is currently trailing his Democratic opponent Sen. Tim Kaine by double digits.