MIAMI, FLORIDA — A Republican congressman from Florida accepted nearly $6,000 from a GOP activist who previously as referred to former Barack Obama by a vile racist slur and also has rubbed shoulders with a number of Islamophobic figures.
Representative Brian Mast is currently running for re-election against Democrat Lauren Baer in Florida’s 18th district, in the southeast of the state.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Mast accepted a total of $5,705 from Republican activist Steven Alembik in donations from December 2017 and July 2018. He eventually donated those funds to charity once they came under fire.
Mast condemned Alembik's comments during a phone interview today, and said yesterday morning his campaign sent a check to the Boys and Girls Clubs.
— Ali Schmitz (@SchmitzMedia) September 21, 2018
As Politico reported in September, Alembik has been in the spotlight for describing Obama as a “Fucking Muslim N*****.” Alembik also has donated more than $20,000 to Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign.
After the controversy came to light, the DeSantis campaign distanced itself from Alembik. “We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric,” spokesman Steven Lawson said in a statement.
However, this is not the only instance in which Mast has mingled with Islamophobics. In August CNN reported that Mast had appeared three times on the Right Side Patriots program, hosted by Diane Sori and Craig Andresen – who make no bones about being anti-Muslim.
“We are at war with Islam. Plain and simple,” Sorri said in the show directly after Mast’s appearance. “I cannot say it enough. Islam is not a religion and we are at war with Islam. Not radical Islam — all Islam.”
Andresen has also regularly espoused conspiratorial anti-Muslim views, writing in 2015 that it “is self evident that Obama IS [sic] a Muslim and [there should be] no apology from Trump” for propagating his birth certificate conspiracy.
At the time Mast’s spokesman defended the congressman’s appearances by saying that the lawmaker speaks to many reporters about a variety of issues and “just like every reporter doesn’t agree with his positions, he doesn’t agree with every statement ever made by the reporters that he talks to.”
In 2016 and 2017 however, Mast also appeared at two conferences hosted by David Horowitz – the same conference that Ron DeSantis also appeared at and which were described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “ranging from single day presentations given by anti-Muslims fear mongers…to extravagant weekend getaways that convene government officials with far-right thought leaders and activists.”
Horowitz has also said that the only real race war in the United States was against whites, and referred to a Rutgers University professor as a “self-hating Jew” for supporting Palestine.
Brian Mast’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly omitted the fact that Mast has since donated the money he received from Alembik. It has been updated to include that context.