Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he was appointing a new personal spokesperson, former Republican National Committee official and conservative journalist Elizabeth Harrington, in a sign of his political ambitions in Washington and beyond.
His statements around the new hire, as well Ms Harrington’s background, suggest Mr Trump is going to keep spreading the thoroughly discredited idea that the 2020 election was rigged, as well as hitting on new GOP culture war topics like hostility to critical race theory and vaccine skepticism as he ponders a potential comeback campaign in 2024.
“Liz Harrington is a fighter,” the former president said on Tuesday in a statement. “She was an important part of our receiving more votes than any incumbent President in US history, far more than we received the first time we won,” he added, referencing the false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election as well.
She also seemed to hint at this claim, saying in a statement on Tuesday she was excited to “stand for the truth.” (Ms Harrington did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent).
Prior to joining the former president, Ms Harrington was editor-in-chief at War Room, an influential far-right website and podcast from former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, where hosts and guests regularly supported conspiracy theories about a “rigged” 2020 election, skepticism about vaccines, and the idea that Covid came from a lab leak in China. The show’s YouTube channel was removed for spreading false claims about the election, but it consistently ranks as a top podcast on the Apple charts.
Jason Miller, who initially hosted the podcast arm with Mr Bannon, was the president’s previous spokesperson before Ms Harrington. He has said that War Room often functioned as a platform to reach an “audience of one” for those looking to impress Mr Trump.
"We present him with clips," Mr Miller told Yahoo News. "I frequently update him on who’s on the show and who’s doing what."
Before joining the War Room venture, Ms Harrington was a top spokesperson at the Republican National Committee, taking over from Kayeigh McEnany when she joined the White House as press secretary, another former conservative media personality who went on to work for Mr Trump.
At the RNC, Ms Harrington defended the former president’s roundly criticised handling of the coronavirus pandemic and claimed without substantive evidence the 2020 election was stolen, telling one news host there were “mountains of evidence” that the contest was unfair – even though virtually none of the numerous lawsuits, audits, and recounts he pushed for have yielded anything to suggest that Joe Biden wasn’t the true winner.
In a recent interview, she continued to hold the line that the contest was unfair, suggesting to a host on the Real America’s Voice network that Donald Trump could be reinstated.
“If the truth gets out there, and if we still have a justice system, and if we still have people that believe in our system and our Constitution, who knows what will happen,” she said.
Ms Harrington, a Temple University graduate, was a journalist at conservative news sites like CNSnews.com and the Washington Free Beacon before entering politics. At the Beacon, she often wrote pieces with eye-popping, right-wing clickbait headlines, such as “Hypnotizing the World: Omar Has Ties to Radical Anti-Israel, Anti-American Group,” about US representative Ilhan Omar, a popular conservative bogeywoman, and “Libs: Sex Change at 9, Vote at 16, No Smoking Until 21.”
LGBT+ groups have criticised her as homophobic and anti-trans. She once called the push for trans kids to use bathrooms matching their gender “literally insane” and “trendy”.