Robert Costa, Washington Post, August 21, 2018
The publisher of a website that serves as a platform for white nationalism was a guest last weekend at the home of President Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow.
Peter Brimelow attended the gathering, a birthday bash for Kudlow, one day after a White House speechwriter was dismissed in the wake of revelations that he had spoken alongside Brimelow on a 2016 panel.
Brimelow, 70, was once a well-connected figure in mainstream conservative circles, writing for Dow Jones and National Review. But over the past two decades, he has become a zealous promoter of white-identity politics on Vdare.com, the anti-immigration website that he founded in 1999.
Kudlow said Tuesday that Brimelow was a guest at his birthday party at his Connecticut home and is someone he has known “forever,” going back to their work in financial journalism. Kudlow expressed regret when he was described details of Brimelow’s promotion of white nationalists on Vdare.com.
Kudlow said that Brimelow, who also lives in Connecticut, has been “coming to my dinner parties for years” but that “none of this other stuff has ever come up.”
Brimelow declined to be interviewed by phone. In a statement, he said: “I’ve known Larry for nearly 40 years. I regard him as a personal friend. They knew my first wife, who died, and were most kind to Lydia when I remarried. We agreed to disagree on immigration long ago.”
Tuesday evening, Brimelow tweeted: “Apparently we’re not supposed to have personal friends anymore. Who knew.”
Kudlow, 71, is a former CNBC host who previously worked in the Reagan administration as an economic and budget adviser. During the 2016 campaign, he was a confidant of then-candidate Trump on the economy and trade, and he was named director of the National Economic Council in March.
“Mostly, he was a writer I knew for Forbes and other financial publications,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow’s public positions are far different than Brimelow’s. A former Democrat, Kudlow has been a vocal advocate for a path to legalization for undocumented workers and was an ally of the late New York congressman Jack Kemp, who called on Republicans to do more outreach to minority voters.
“The political tide among conservatives and Republicans may be turning in favor of immigration reform. As a longtime supporter of reform who believes that immigration is a pro-growth issue, I am delighted to see these developments,” Kudlow wrote in a 2014 column for CNBC.com. He added that the GOP “must return to its big tent roots. It must follow the lead of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. It must reach out to Latinos, African-Americans, young people and women. A conservative Catholic like myself can work inside the same tent as my Log Cabin Republican friends.”
As Kudlow’s party convened, former speechwriter Darren Beattie was still fuming over his exit from the West Wing, according to a person close to him.
Beattie, who holds a doctorate from Duke University and was one of the rare academic voices who rallied behind Trump’s presidential campaign two years ago, had strongly resisted the push for his resignation by White House officials late last week. He was subsequently fired Friday, according to three people familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Kudlow said Tuesday that he was not aware of Beattie’s dismissal over the weekend or the reasons behind it. Beattie’s departure was sparked by an inquiry by CNN’s investigative unit about his appearance at a 2016 panel discussion where he and Brimelow spoke, the people said. That event, the H.L. Mencken Club conference in Maryland, has been attended in the past by alt-right leaders such as Spencer, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups.
Beattie, on Tuesday, published what he says are his remarks from that panel. The conservative website that posted his speech said it had “been edited only slightly to correct a few typographical errors.” The Post has not independently verified what Beattie said on the panel.