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Blake Masters’ Political Posts in a CrossFit Chat Room Come Back to Haunt Him

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Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for the Senate in Arizona who won the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump, has been dogged by a trail of youthful writings wherein he lamented the entry of the USA into the First and Second World Wars, approvingly quoted a Nazi war criminal and pushed an isolationism that prolonged beyond even Mr. Trump’s.

In probably the most recent examples, unearthed and provided to The Recent York Times by opponents of Mr. Masters, he took to the chat room of CrossFit, his workout of alternative, as a Stanford undergraduate in 2007 to espouse views that may not sit well with the Republican electorate of 2022.

As he had in other forums, Mr. Masters wrote on the CrossFit chat room that he opposed American involvement in each world wars — although World War II, he conceded, “is harder to argue due to the hot button issue of the Holocaust (nevermind that our friend Stalin murdered over twice as many as Hitler … why can we gloss over that in schools?).”

He didn’t address Pearl Harbor or say whether he thought the USA must have ignored it.

Also on the CrossFit chat room, Mr. Masters, then 20, argued that Iraq and Al Qaeda didn’t “constitute substantial threats to Americans.”

“In my opinion, a real libertarian is anti all wars that should not strictly defensive, and with U.S. Military (lots of our greatest men and ladies!) sadly stationed in 100+ countries and bombing several dozen since war was last declared, defense will not be the secret,” he told his fellow CrossFit enthusiasts. “We should be more just like the Swiss on this regard — decentralized and defensive.”

Such views might well have fit with the Ron Paul brand of libertarianism that Mr. Masters subscribed to as a school student. But they’d be an extreme outlier within the Senate he hopes to affix next yr.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Masters’ youthful writings have already change into fodder within the hotly contested race for the Republican nomination to tackle Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, a freshman Democrat who’s amongst probably the most vulnerable incumbents this yr. The Arizona primary is Aug. 2.

One other G.O.P. contender, the businessman Jim Lamon, latched onto Mr. Masters’ 2006 writings on an early blogging site, Live Journal — reported by Jewish Insider in April and June — wherein Mr. Masters had claimed that “‘unrestricted’ immigration is the one alternative” for a libertarian-minded voter.

As a candidate, Mr. Masters, now 35, takes a position diametrically against that of his younger self and in keeping with Mr. Trump’s views: He favors militarizing the border and ending what he calls an “invasion” by immigrants entering the country illegally.

Mr. Masters declined to comment for this text. His campaign manager, Amalia Halikias, issued an announcement calling him “the clear front-runner,” noting Mr. Trump’s endorsement, and expressing disdain for journalists “spending their time sifting through CrossFit message boards from 2007 to attempt to discredit him.”

She said voters cared more about “how we will solve the inflation crisis and border crisis that Joe Biden and Mark Kelly have given us.”

Mr. Masters has also been denounced for contemporary statements, like his April 11 remark that America’s gun violence problem boiled right down to “Black people, frankly,” and his apparent embrace of the “substitute theory” promulgated by white supremacists when he accused Democrats of attempting to flood the nation with immigrants “to vary the demographics of our country.”

Mr. Masters’ early writings covered a wide selection of subjects and touched a lot of tripwires for somebody with mainstream political aspirations.

In a 2006 post on the libertarian site LewRockwell.com, he rehashed an elaborate conspiracy theory in regards to the United States’ entry into World War I, implying a connection between the banking “Houses of Morgan and Rothschild” and the failure to alert American steamship passengers to German threats that preceded the sinking of the Lusitania. His primary source was C. Edward Griffin, an ardent libertarian who once said that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — a notorious antisemitic forgery — “accurately describe much of what is going on in our world today.”

The post ended with what Mr. Masters called a “poignant quotation” from Hermann Goering — Hitler’s right-hand man and some of the powerful Nazis of the Third Reich.

Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League, assailed Mr. Masters’ invocations of Goering and Griffin, calling them “historical figures who trafficked in among the worst antisemitic tropes conceivable.”

“Any student of history should know higher than to raise leaders who once gave voice to dangerous antisemitic tropes resembling the notorious ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’” Mr. Greenblatt said.

He added, “No matter how old he was on the time, Mr. Masters must disavow his decision to uphold these men and their ideas and condemn antisemitism in all forms.”

Mr. Lamon, for one, has taken political advantage, running an ad framing Mr. Masters as a conspiratorial antisemite.

Mr. Masters released a response wherein he said he knew “the left-wing media” would “attempt to smear me” and “call me a racist and a sexist and a terrorist.” He added: “Well, it seems loser Republicans would do this, too.”

Understand the 2022 Midterm Elections

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What are the midterm elections? Midterms happen two years after a presidential election, on the midpoint of a presidential term — hence the name. This yr, numerous seats are up for grabs, including all 435 House seats, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and 36 of fifty governorships.

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Mr. Masters has defended his 2006 writings because the youthful scribblings of a teen recoiling from the war in Iraq. “I used to be 19, writing in opposition to the Iraq War — a stance that turned out to be prescient,” he told Jewish Insider in April. “I went too far and stated that no recent American wars have been just.” He added: “I suppose it was only a matter of time before I got called antisemitic for criticizing wartime propaganda in an essay I wrote as a teen.”

Still, as a student at Stanford, considered one of the nation’s most elite universities, he must have known higher, said Abe Foxman, a longtime head of the Anti-Defamation League, now its national director emeritus.

“While Masters may not have been accustomed to Griffin’s antisemitism, as a Stanford undergrad he actually would have been accustomed to who Goering was and what he did — especially quoting him from the Nuremberg trials,” Mr. Foxman said.

In 2007, Mr. Masters expanded upon his libertarian critique of the USA within the oddly chosen forum of CrossFit’s chat rooms.

“To she or he who comes back at me with the claim that Iraq and even al-qaeda constitute substantial threats to Americans, I actually have little more to say than I actually have arrived at the other conclusion,” he wrote.

He called the USA “an empire-driven (soft and hard) nation-state with security craving sheep” and dismissed the Federal Reserve Board as a “semi-private banking cartel.”

And, on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Masters — who now embraces Mr. Trump’s “America First” slogan — asked, “what in regards to the non-Americans in the dual towers? Personally I see no reason to lament the demise of ‘American’ innocents any greater than those of other nationalities.”

Finally, on Sept. 25, 2007, Mr. Masters, then a Stanford junior, bid adieu to his CrossFit interlocutors, signing off with one last expression of sophomoric-sounding self-assurance.

“I don’t mean any disrespect — however it takes years to know where I’m coming from, let alone agree or disagree,” he wrote. “To expect NOT to receive the same old (intelligent, perhaps, but still typical) objections and questions in response to a post resembling mine above could be silly … I don’t know what gave me the urge to try in any case.”

He punctuated it with an emoticon of a wink.

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