Jack Hunter, a close aide to Sen. Rand Paul, doesn’t wear his mask in public anymore.
But as the Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman reports, in the past Hunter was often seen wearing a Confederate flag mask as he portrayed his alter ego — the “Southern Avenger.”
From 1999 to 2012, Hunter espoused views sympathetic to the Confederacy as a shock jock radio host in South Carolina.
Now, Hunter is a highly-ranked adviser to Sen. Rand Paul. In 2010, he co-wrote the book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Paul during his Senate campaign. The two are described as close, with Hunter even teaching Paul’s sons guitar on election night. In August 2012, Hunter was hired as Paul’s social media director.
But Hunter’s past may not help Paul improve his image as a more mainstream version of his father, Congressman Ron Paul, who was embroiled in a controversy over racist newsletters published in his name. In fact, Hunter has written that some of Sen. Paul’s moderate-sounding views should not be taken at face value, and that he is just “play[ing] the game.”
Before becoming a radio host, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, an organization which advocates the secession of the South “and the formation of a Southern Republic.”
Although not classified as a hate group, the League of the South has been described as “implicitly racist” by the Anti-Defamation League. It denies such claims, and Hunter told the Free Beacon “that’s not what they were about,” admitting, however, that it was “a fairly radical group.”
On Charleston rock station 96 Wave, Hunter — who has also contributed opinion pieces to The Daily Caller — provided political commentary anonymously using the name “Southern Avenger.”
In one segment on his old website titled “John Wilkes Booth was Right,” Hunter wrote : “If you are a patriotic American who believes in the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington – then you cannot at the same time honor Abraham Lincoln.”
“That’s like praising Jesus and worshipping Satan simultaneously,” he wrote.
Hunter has also said that he celebrates John Wilkes Booth’s birthday, raising “a personal toast” to him every May 10.
Hunter wrote about racial issues frequently, describing white Americans as being held to a “racial double standard” and that Spanish-speaking immigrants were a threat to the United States.
“That Americans, white or otherwise, don’t want Spanish-speaking people dominating their airwaves, neighborhoods, or country is no more racist than Mexico’s lack of interest in Seinfeld,” he wrote.
Hunter made controversial statements elsewhere. In one article in the Charleston City Paper, he compared the 9/11 attacks to the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
“I can say unequivocally that I find the terrorism committed on Sept. 11, 2001 and the terrorism committed in early August of 1945 both deplorable on the same grounds,” he wrote.
Hunter appears to have been relatively prominent in local politics. In May, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford proudly displayed Hunter’s endorsement for his Congressional campaign:
Another great endorsement today, from Jack Hunter at the Southern Avenger: http://t.co/CLnjRCGnzF
— Mark Sanford (@MarkSanford) May 5, 2013
While Hunter told the Free Beacon he did not stand behind many of these statements anymore, he declined to say whether he still supported secession.
Paul’s office released a statement to the Free Beacon about Hunter’s employment.
“Sen. Paul holds his staff to a standard that includes treating every individual with equal protection and respect, without exception,” spokesperson Moira Bagley told the Free Beacon.