"John Wilkes Booth's heart was in the right place." That's a statement that top Rand Paul aide Jack Hunter wrote in a 2004 blog post as "the Southern Avenger," a persona he also adopted as a South Carolina radio shock jock from 1999 to 2012. And as the name and statement imply, Hunter has a long history of active involvement in both the pro-secessionist and neo-Confederate movement, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Tidbits from the blockbuster report include:
- As the Avenger, Hunter was fond of wearing a mask with a Confederate flag on it.
- Hunter was once chairman of the secessionist League of the South, a group the ADL describes as "implicitly racist." Hunter says they "were very explicit" that racism was "not what they were about."
- In other commentaries, he compared the NAACP to the KKK, opposed Spanish-speaking immigrants, and wondered if "black kids simply act-a-fool more than white kids."
- He also once likened the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to 9-11. "In terms of scale and slaughter, the most colossal terrorist attack in the history of this planet was committed by the same country that often claims to be the greatest nation on it," he said.
- As recently as 2009, Hunter said that when he read over his old radical writings he realized that, "I’m still just as radical or crazy, depending on your perspective. In fact, I might be getting worse."
Hunter, who co-wrote Paul's 2010 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington and advises him on foreign policy, now disavows many of those stances. "I just don't speak like that," he told the Free Beacon, saying he no longer supports Lincoln's assassination and that secession is "sort of a dead letter" issue. The revelations could prove problematic for Paul, potentially resurrecting the racism allegations that haunted his father's various campaigns, and his own dust-up over the Civil Rights Act. (Read more Jack Hunter stories.)