FORBES is reporting that controversial internet figure, and banned Twitter user Charles Johnson is working with the Trump transition team to vet possible administration hirees.
— Forbes (@Forbes) January 9, 2017
An internet troll, who was once called “the most hated man on the internet” and is banned from Twitter, is recommending candidates to serve in the Trump administration.
Charles “Chuck” Johnson, a controversial blogger and conservative online personality, has been pushing for various political appointees to serve under Donald Trump, according to multiple sources close to the President-elect’s transition team. While Johnson does not have a formal position, FORBES has learned that he is working behind the scenes with members of the transition team’s executive committee, including billionaire Trump donor Peter Thiel, to recommend, vet and give something of a seal of approval to potential nominees from the so-called “alt-right.”
The proximity to power is something new for Johnson, a self-described “journalist, author and debunker of frauds,” who has made a name for himself by peddling false information and right-wing conspiracy theories online. In the months leading up to the election, Johnson, 28, used social media and his website GotNews.com to stump for the President-elect while also publishing misinformation on Trump’s detractors. Now, Johnson is helping to pick some of the leaders who may run the country for the next four years.
According to FORBES, Johnson’s work with the transition team has been verified by unnamed sources within the team, though Johnson says that he has no “formal” position.
“Whether I am listened to or not remains to be seen,” Johnson wrote in an email to FORBES in December. “I am by and large pretty happy with the government selected thus far, though I am sorry to say that a lot of the candidates that I favor have not been selected.”
Johnson has a checkered past with regard to new media, having been banned from Twitter and pushing some questionable stories.
While Twitter banned Johnson in May 2015 after threatening a Black Lives Matters activist, he made a name for himself as an internet troll, or an online personality who antagonizes others by posting inflammatory or misleading information. Among his exploits, Johnson has published the home addresses of New York Times reporters, wrongly identified a woman he thought was the source of Rolling Stone’s now-retracted story of an alleged rape at the University of Virginia and claimed that President Barack Obama is gay.
He also helped start a crowdfunded “information” site (which I won’t name or link to) that raises bounties to be paid out to anyone who digs up the right “dirt.” For example there are bounties being raised right now for evidence of Nikki Haley having extramarital affairs and for the release of Megyn Kelly’s divorce records. There are also several aimed at evidence against Gawker Media, a nemesis of Johnson’s. It all looks very slimy, but Trump has repeatedly shown that he’s not above using slime to get what he wants.