In December of 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump announced his Oklahoma campaign team. The first name on his “list of Oklahoma leaders endorsing Mr. Trump and county coordinators” was Ralph Shortey, a fellow anti-LGBTQ, pro-gun “birther” conspiracy theorist and a Republican state senator in his second term.
In March, Shortey was arrested for soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy and resigned his senate seat. According to his lawyer, he will plead guilty to one count of child sex trafficking next week.
Not even counting the many Trump 2016 campaign officials currently under indictment or investigation in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Shortey is but the latest former Trump campaign official to get into trouble.
Others have included:
- Carl Paladino, Trump’s honorary state co-chair for New York, who said in December that he wanted President Obama to die of Mad Cow disease in 2017 and hoped Michelle Obama would “return to being a male let loose in Zimbabwe.”
- Gerald “Jerry” Delamus, a “Veterans for Trump” coalition co-chair in New Hampshire, who was sentenced in May to serve more than seven years in prison for his role in Cliven Bundy’s 2014 armed standoff.
- Al Baldasaro, a Republican New Hampshire state representative and co-chair of the national “Veterans for Trump” coalition, who urged in August 2016 that Hillary Clinton “should be shot in a firing squad for treason.” In June, Baldasaro attended a White House bill signing — then-press secretary Sean Spicer claimed not to be aware of the comments.
- Tim Nolan, a former judge and Campbell County, Kentucky, Trump campaign chairman, was arrested in April for child sex crimes (he has plead not guilty).
Shortey and these others would seem to contradict Trump’s longstanding boast that he he knows and surrounds himself only with “the best people.”