“Big day today. I’m opening speaker 4 President of United States,” Wayne Allyn Root, a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist and former Libertarian Party vice-presidential nominee, boasted Thursday morning on Twitter, hours before President Trump headlines a Las Vegas rally to elect a Republican ticket in the state.
“@realDonaldTrump personally requested Wayne Root as opening speaker to welcome crowd,” the right-wing commentator claimed. “Thank u Mr. President.”
The opening act makes sense considering Root’s long-running, often sycophantic friendship with the president.
Trump wrote a glowing blurb for Root’s 2015 book Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America (which, coincidentally, featured a foreword by shady ex-Trump confidant Roger Stone). Root, in turn, emceed the future president’s 2015 campaign rally in Vegas, and later offered to become Trump’s own “Karl Rove” should he win the election. Earlier this year, Root bragged about spending a “magical evening” with President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
And in many ways, Root is the Las Vegas version of Trump: He’s a ruthless self-promoter from New York; a heavily airbrushed and often-gaudy TV personality whose flashy antics and love of chintz have made him synonymous with a city.
Moreover, just like the president, Root is now a bombastic right-wing media personality obsessed with the Clintons, Obama, the physical appearance of liberals, and the batshit conspiracy theories that comport with his worldview.
Perhaps most infamously, when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire and killed 58 people at a country-music festival on the Vegas strip last fall, Root proclaimed on Twitter, without a shred of evidence: “This is real thing. Clearly coordinated Muslim terror attack. PRAY for our Vegas police. PRAY for victims. VERY bad. Awful.”
After sustained outcry over falsely linking a deadly mass shooting to Islamic terror, Root refused to apologize or back down, instead claiming he heard about the connection from “credible news sources,” which, at that time, meant far-right conspiratorial websites like The Gateway Pundit. “I report it as I hear it,” Root added.
Days later, on his radio show, Root went off the rails, once again claiming “ISIS fingerprints were all over this thing,” before bashing the critics of his radical conspiracy-mongering: “I have nothing to worry about so I laugh in their liberal commie faces, their liberal commie Muslim-sympathizer faces. Screw you! Come and get me. Screw you.”
Months earlier, after it was revealed that a white nationalist allegedly murdered a female anti-racism protester during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Root shared a particularly deranged theory: “Such B.S,” he said of the alleged killer’s far-right politics. “Probably paid actors & infiltrators hired by Soros. No conservative I’ve ever met commits violence. EVER.”
Beyond waxing crazy about deadly news events, Root has also been a leading voice for the right-wing conspiracy theory that Democratic officials ordered the murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich for allegedly passing stolen emails to WikiLeaks.
“He was murdered because he was the guy that gave all the DNC files to Julian Assange and Wikileaks,” Root asserted on his radio show in June 2018, as Right Wing Watch first reported. “They just killed him for no reason and nobody seems to be interested in finding the killer. And it sure seems to me to point to leading Democrats—Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC, the Clintons, Hillary Clinton, all the above, Donna Brazile, all the above, seem to be mixed up in this, they all had a motive to kill this guy.”
At other points, he has suggested that Rich’s murderer was former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, former President Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
In one particularly bizarre tweet, Root wrote: “I think Seth Rich murder is HUGE issue,” boasting in strikingly Trumpian language that “I understand people and psychology. Something is VERY wrong.”
Unsurprisingly, Root was an early supporter of Trump’s crusade to prove true the completely debunked conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States. “Good job Donald Trump,” Root tweeted in 2011, long before the birther-in-chief became commander-in-chief. “I can produce my birth certificate in 1 minute. I have it in my safe.”
The Vegas stalwart would later go on to claim he never was a birther, but simply someone who believed Obama hid dark secrets hidden beneath mundane documents like his college transcripts. Seemingly missing the connotative connection to birtherism, Root once told Hannity that he believes Obama was a “foreign exchange student” at Columbia University.
He has certainly never shied away from other racially tinged attacks on the first black U.S. president. Obama was a “Marxist, anti-American, anti-Israel, globalist, middle class-hating, Muslim sympathizer,” Root has repeatedly written. At one point, Root called Obama the “first Muslim president” in a column that sought to reveal the ex-president‘s “true religious loyalties.”
Throughout Obama’s eight years in office, Root claimed he was a “Manchurian candidate” who was sent—possibly by the Bilderberg Group—to “destroy this country” from within and “kill all of us.” He further maintained that Obama was gay, referring to him as “Bathhouse Barry” and claiming that his “friends in Chicago” told him the president had a “sordid past.”
While opening a 2016 Trump rally in Vegas, Root reportedly received rapturous applause by suggesting Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin will meet the same deadly fate as two popular film characters who drove off a cliff. “We all get our wish," Root said of the Clinton-Abedin relationship. “The ending is like Thelma and Louise.”
Beyond the usual bevy of far-right conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric, Root has seemingly fixated on the sexuality and physical appearances of his liberal enemies.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump’s ties to Russia, Root posited earlier this year, because he has “penis envy.” The radio host declared: “Mueller’s is smaller than Trump’s.” According to Right Wing Watch, Root has claimed that “all liberal men are gay” and “all liberal women are ugly.”
He has lamented how HBO host John Oliver married a “STUNNING. GORGEOUS… Trophy Wife” instead of “plain liberal women.” And he has suggested that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough only became critical of Trump so he could have “sex w/hot blonde” Mika Brzezinski, his fiancée and co-host.
During one bonkers radio segment, Root expressed dismay that some of his social-media critics have referred to him as an old man. “There’s no difference in when you call someone ‘old’ versus when you call someone the ‘N-word,’” the radio-host claimed. “There’s no difference. It’s a lack of respect. It’s filthy. It’s disgusting.”
In a normal world, Root’s level of unabashed buffoonery would put him more at home with the QAnon-flag and Seth Rich poster-toting weirdos that will flock to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday night. But instead he’s the speaker a U.S. president reportedly “personally requested” to open for him at a nationally televised event.