Turns out Donald Trump isn’t the only member of his family who raises eyebrows because of the people he associates with. In October, son Eric Trump spoke at a conference with an avowed neo-Nazi supporter. Here’s the full story.
Trumps in the House
In mid-October, Eric Trump was a headline speaker at the ReAwaken Tour event at one of his father’s hotels in Miami. His sister Lara was also on the docket.
Could He Trump the Trumps?
But it wasn’t just the Trumps who promised to draw in the most ardent of conservative supporters. That’s because none other than Ian Smith was also one of the featured speakers.
Smith may not be a household name for the average American, but he has emerged as something of a cult hero for far right-wingers, especially since the beginning of the pandemic.
Flipping the Bird at COVID
While the rest of the world was shuttering their daily lives and hunkering down during the dark heart of the COVID-19 lockdown, Smith flipped a figurative bird at the establishment.
Can’t Keep a Good Gym Down
A gym owner in New Jersey, Smith refused to shut down even in the face of government mandates. That earned him plenty of notoriety, but also plenty of fans among the anti-Biden, conspiracy theory crowd.
More Than a Pandemic Hack
But Smith’s right-wing appeal goes way beyond bucking the system during the pandemic.
No Topic off Limit
In fact, according to a report from Forbes leading up to Smith’s appearance in Miami, he has taken on some of the most hot-button issues in world history.
Not a Fan of Jews
Maybe most prominent among them is Smith’s insistence that the holocaust of Jews in Nazi Germany never happened. Beyond that denial, he has spouted even more antisemitic ideas on social media and during interviews.
They’re Trying to Control Us
As a guest on The Pete Quinones Show podcast, for example, Smith said that Jewish people are the root cause of “all of these things that are used to control us.”
Always in the Dark Spotlight
Beyond his controversial political stances and outspoken opinions, Smith has made news in other ways, too. Not all of them have been positive.
He Killed a Man
For instance, Smith has been taken to task in many circles for multiple drunk driving incidents this century. One of those, in 2009, led to the death of a 19-year-old man.
Can’t Shake the Bottle
Smith ended up serving a prison term for that tragedy, but he didn’t seem to learn his lesson. Drunk driving troubles have continued to plague him throughout his life.
No Seat at the Table
Then, in 2022, Smith ran for congress, but he was ultimately unsuccessful in that bid.
Facing the Consequences
And, as the world finally started dusting off from the pandemic and the legal system slowly ground back into gear, Smith had to face the consequences for flouting the lockdown.
He Had to Pay Up
In March of 2023, a judge ordered Smith and other co-owners of the gym to pay more than $120,000 in fine.
Still Plenty of Support
For all his controversy and legal troubles, though, Smith continues to draw support and fascination from ultra conservative Americans.
A Frequent Flier
In fact, Smith has spoken at several renditions of the ReAwaken Tour, which its creators tout as catering to “freedom-loving Americans.”
Freedom to Fail
In Smith’s case, it appears that tagline includes the freedom to drink irresponsibly, ignore the rule of law, and make unsubstantiated claims about well-established historical atrocities.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / mark reinstein. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.