RNC cuts speaker over anti-Semitic tweets but spotlights others who’ve made inflammatory remarks

Abby Johnson speaks from Washington during the second night of the Republican National Convention
In this image from a video, Abby Johnson speaks from Washington on Tuesday during the Republican National Convention. Another speaker, Mary Ann Mendoza, was scheduled to appear, but the RNC removed her video from the lineup after she posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories earlier Tuesday.
(Associated Press)

The Republican National Convention cut one speaker’s video after she posted anti-Semitic tweets, but continued to spotlight other conservative voices that have come under fire for problematic statements.

Mary Ann Mendoza, a consultant for the We Build the Wall organization, was scheduled to speak but her video was removed from the lineup at the last minute after she promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Twitter earlier in the day.

On its first night, the convention featured Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are facing felony charges after pointing weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters passing by their St. Louis mansion. Abby Johnson, an antiabortion activist spoke Tuesday in a pre-taped video to the RNC.

Johnson spoke about how she became an antiabortion activist after working at a Planned Parenthood clinic. But earlier in the day she faced growing criticism and anger about a video she posted online in June about her family, particularly her biracial son, fatherhood and policing.

In a video titled, “My thoughts on fatherhood,” Johnson speaks about her son, Jude, as “an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy.”

“But one day he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking maybe brown man,” said Johnson, who is white and has four other sons. “And my other boys are probably going to look like nerdy white guys.”

Johnson explained that she will have to talk to Jude differently than her white sons when it comes to confrontations with the police. She pointed to statistics showing Black men make up a disproportionately high proportion of prison populations and said police would know those numbers as well.

“They’re going to know that statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons,” she says in the video, referring to law enforcement. “The fact that in his head he would be more careful around my brown son than my white sons, that doesn’t actually make me angry. That makes that police officer smart.”


If a police officer is more violent toward her brown son than her white sons, she said, “then that makes me angry.” She then goes on to blame incarceration of Black men on “bad dads,” not “bad cops.”

Johnson did not mention that numerous studies have shown that Black Americans often face discrimination when it comes to housing, education, healthcare and criminal justice rights. Black men and women are often targeted more often than their white counterparts by law enforcement.

First Lady Melania Trump and two of the president’s adult children, Eric and Tiffany Trump, spoke on the second night of the Republican National Convention, making it an unusual family affair.

Aug. 25, 2020

The video was first reported by the Daily Caller in June, but a piece by Vice News prompted outcry.

“It is absolutely terrifying and heartbreaking that this woman thinks this way about her own child,” lawyer Jill Filipovic tweeted. In a follow-up tweet she added, “I feel so sorry for this child and am sincerely worried that he is not safe. He is certainly not being protected in Abby Johnson’s care.”

Mendoza, whose son was killed in a car collision after being hit by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally, was scheduled to speak at the Republican convention, but CNN reported just minutes before the start of the convention that she would no longer speak.


In a statement, Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the organization was pleased that convention officials took prompt action “to make sure the Convention reflects who we are and our values as a party.”

“We are deeply troubled by Mendoza’s tweets and comments that trafficked in vicious antisemitic messages. While we mourn the horrible loss of her son, her views clearly disqualify her from addressing the Convention,” he said.

The announcement came just hours after the Daily Beast published a piece about Mendoza promoting a thread on Twitter that pushed QAnon conspiracy theories about Jewish people. The thread also calls philanthropist George Soros “One Of The Absolute Most Corrupt And Evil Individuals Alive Today.” Mendoza once tweeted that Soros was a “Nazi.” Soros, who is Jewish, is a Holocaust survivor.

And Tuesday, GOP congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted that she would attend Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday. The Georgia candidate has previously pushed far-right QAnon conspiracy theories and has made racist claims about Black and Latino men.