Kris Kobach's undisclosed paid work for Breitbart further blurs the line between the private media company and state-sanctioned propaganda.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the head of Donald Trump’s so-called commission on “Election Integrity,” has a new gig as a paid columnist for the inflammatory right-wing pro-Trump website Breitbart.
According to the Kansas City Star, Kobach has been working for Breitbart since June but didn’t admit that he was being paid to write for them until Thursday of this week.
Kobach, a candidate for Kansas governor who is running on a vehemently anti-immigration platform, has penned seven articles for Breitbart, mostly about immigration.
In his first article for the website, Kobach linked refugees to terrorism while defending Trump’s controversial “travel ban.” In another column, Kobach denounced so-called “sanctuary cities” and demanded Congress take action against them, calling it “a matter of life and death.”
His most recent article, published on Wednesday, argues for terminating DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”), which he incorrectly referred to as an “amnesty program.” On Thursday, Fox News reported that Trump is expected to announce plans to end DACA any day now.
While most of his articles focus on immigration, Kobach wrote a column on July 3 hyping myths about voter fraud and defending the “election integrity” commission that he co-chairs. Apparently it never occurred to Kobach that taking an undisclosed paid position at a hyper-partisan website doesn’t exactly give the impression of “integrity.”
Kobach’s work for Breitbart is especially controversial given the website’s history of promoting racist ideas and pandering to white supremacists. Ben Shapiro, former editor-at-large of Breitbart, wrote last year about how the site embraced white nationalism under the leadership of Steve Bannon.
When pressed on these issues, Kobach defended Breitbart, telling the Kansas City Star, “If Breitbart had any connection to white nationalism I would not write for the site.”
Kobach is just the latest member of the Trump administration with ties to Breitbart, although he’s the first to admit to being a paid columnist for the inflammatory website while also serving in public office.
Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon (sort of) left Breitbart to join the Trump campaign and then to work in the White House. He returned to Breitbart earlier this month after leaving his White House position, along with Seb Gorka, a former top aide to Trump who announced his return to Breitbart just a week after Bannon did.
Breitbart is already widely considered the unofficial propaganda arm of the Trump White House, and Bannon himself described it a year ago as the “platform of the alt-right,” which is a white nationalist movement.
While Kobach isn’t breaking any laws by working for the website while also serving in the Trump administration, his paid position as a Breitbart employee further blurs the line between private media company and state-sanctioned propaganda.