No Navajos Appear To Be Involved In 'Navajos For Trump,' But Charlie Kirk Sure Is
A couple of weeks ago, an organization calling itself "Navajos For Trump" took out an ad in the Navajo Times. This appears to have been a mistake. Because if they hadn't taken that ad out, the Navajo Times would never have thought to look into finding out who these "Navajos For Trump" were, and they never would have discovered there were almost definitely no actual Navajos in the making of "Navajos For Trump."
Now, of course there are Navajos and other Native Americans out there voting for Trump. Every possible race and creed has some terrible people. However, the Navajo Times was unable to find any that were associated with the group that bought the ads in their newspaper and on their website.
The group also took out a "Navajos For Trump" billboard on I-40 near Sanders, Arizona.
Who are ‘Navajos for Trump’? https://t.co/aCRVYs4IeV #INDIGENOUS #TAIRP @navajotimes https://t.co/lnlrVmpEkk— Indigenous (@Indigenous)1598106600.0
Via Navajo Times:
But are there any actual Navajo Republicans behind the massive "Navajos for Trump" ad campaign that hit the Navajo Nation last week? If so, they're not exactly front and center.
A group called Rally Forge LLC took out a half-page ad in the Navajo Times last week and also a banner ad on the Navajo Times website with the words "Navajos for Trump" prominently displayed. According to its corporate filing documents, Rally Forge is run by Jake Hoffman out of Queen Creek, Arizona.
CNBC described Rally Forge as "an obscure media advisory firm," which is more than its website reveals. It's hard to determine from the website exactly what Rally Forge does, although it does volunteer, "We only build movements that will help restore our nation to its rightful place as the shining city atop the hill."
According to Hoffman's Twitter bio, he is a "Christian, Hubby, Dad, MBA, President of http://RallyForge.com, #QueenCreek Councilman, Candidate for AZ State Representative LD12, @Townhallcom Columnist." He does not claim anywhere to be a Navajo.
Hoffman also operates RallyPAC, a pro-Trump PAC funded solely by Texas bank executive Andrew Beale, which in April was revealed to have existed pretty much exclusively to fund Facebook pages that spread conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton.
The PAC made four payments totaling $316,000 to Hoffman's company (Rally Forge). He confirmed to CNBC that he then put some of his firm's content on a Facebook channel titled "I Love My Country."
The material posted on the site — during the period from the first payment to Rally Forge in September 2016 into the first week of November — includes right-wing memes that touched on a wide range of conspiratorial talking points against the Democratic nominee in 2016, Hillary Clinton. The memes quoted Trump's accusations that Clinton had been controlled by Wall Street executives and also compared her email scandal to the secret recordings made by disgraced President Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
So basically, Hoffman started a PAC funded mostly by one guy and then funneled the money from that PAC to his own "media advisory firm," which then used that money to fund a Facebook page dedicated to spreading misinformation about Hillary Clinton. Super!
As if that isn't sketchy-seeming enough, Rally Forge LLC is also in cahoots with Turning Point USA ... which, it turns out, actually paid for the Navajos For Trump ads.
Via Navajo Times:
Although Rally Forge paid for the ads, they say in small print they were paid for by Turning Point Action. You also can't tell from its website, but Turning Point Action is a 501(c)4 political nonprofit connected with Turning Point Media, which targets college students and whose stated mission is "identifying, educating and organizing on principles of limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility."
Turning Point Media and Turning Point Action were both founded by young pro-Trump activist Charlie Kirk, who from his pictures, does not appear to be Navajo. We suspect Hoffman isn't either. An employee who answered the phone at the Navajo Nation's Vital Records office said they can't deny or verify tribal membership over the phone, and their office remains closed to the public as of Monday.
One would also have to assume that if Charlie Kirk were Navajo, that we never would have heard the end of it. That is almost definitely not a thing he would have kept to himself.
Reporter Cindy Yurth attempted to contact Turning Point to find out if there were any Navajos involved at all, and was told that there were, but it might take a while to "produce them."
This reporter emailed the woman from Rally Forge who paid for the ads to ask that question, and whether we could meet them. The email was forwarded to Andrew Kolvet of The ATK Company, Turning Point's public relations firm.
Kolvet assured this reporter there were some real Navajos behind the ad campaign, but it might take him a while to produce them, as Turning Point was working on several targeted ad campaigns and he wasn't intimately familiar with all of them. In fact, he had to do a little research when Rally Forge forwarded him the email.
"My understanding is that there was a loosely organized group who approached some people who approached Turning Point" about doing some advertising on Navajo, Kolvet said.
"In a state like Arizona that is so important to the presidential race," he said, "we were very interested."
Oh yeah. That seems very plausible. A loosely organized group of Navajo people who contacted Turning Point about doing an ad campaign, and who then disappeared into the night, never to be heard from again. Like the DB Coopers of Native American Trump supporters. I have never requested an action fund do an ad campaign for me, so I can't say exactly how it works, but that just does not seem right. I would have to think that if I called up Planned Parenthood Action, which is the only one I can think of off of the top of my head, and said, "Hey how about you run an ad for me and a loosely organized group of other brunettes who support pro-choice candidates" they would get a phone number or something before going all in on the "Brown-haired ladies for reproductive choice!" campaign.
There is a Navajos for Trump Facebook page, which boasts a whopping 293 members — all of whom we are very sure are Navajo people — that has commented on the article, although they still don't seem to be producing a single person ready to say, "I am a Navajo Trump Supporter and I approve this message and I also contacted Turning Point Action to get them to do an ad campaign announcing my existence and the existence of others like me."
Your move, Turning Point.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse