Republican congressional candidate Tim Donnelly of California called then-President Barack Obama a secret Muslim and terrorist sympathizer on his old radio program, a CNN KFile review has found.
Donnelly also said that Loretta Lynch was nominated by Obama for attorney general either because of her "skin color" or her "anti-American" attitude and endorsed a conspiracy theory the death of Freddie Gray was a false flag by the Obama administration and their allies to impose martial law.
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Donnelly, a former state assemblyman, is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Paul Cook in California's 8th District, which runs along the eastern border of the state and includes large parts of San Bernardino County and the Mojave Desert. Donnelly came in second to Cook in the June primary, earning the right to face Cook again in November under California's rules in which the top two candidates in the primary advance to the general regardless of party affiliation. Cook's 40% share of the primary vote nearly doubled the 23% won by Donnelly, who edged out a Democratic candidate by a single point for the number two spot.
Donnelly previously ran for the seat in 2016 but came in third by a percentage point in the primary. Before that, he finished a close third in the primary for California's governorship in 2014. Donnelly has several well-known supporters. He is backed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Iowa Rep. Steve King, former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and conservative activist Charlie Kirk.
Last week, Trump endorsed Cook. Donnelly told Politico of the endorsement, "President Trump just endorsed the swamp."
In a comment emailed to CNN's KFile, Donnelly said, "I have spent my professional life fighting for the families of people slain by illegal aliens and islamic jihadists. I went to build the wall a decade before it was a talking point for politicians like Paul Cook."
He added, "On the anniversary of 9/11, you want to hit me for being too harsh on the assholes who killed my neighbor and the worthless politicians like Paul Cook, who colluded with Obama and the #FakeNewsMedia to let them into our country."
Donnelly's comments come from episodes of the "The Tim Donnelly Show,"a radio program he hosted in 2015 and 2016 on local radio in California. Islam, which Donnelly label a cult, and the president were frequent targets of his ire."
Here's what Donnelly said:
In a December 2015 episode, broadcast the day after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Donnelly said that he believed Obama did not call the perpetrators "Islam jihadists" because the then-president was "secretly following" the Islamic faith and wanted to see America punished.
"Barack Obama is the president of the United States and he couldn't say, 'Hey, these are Islamic jihadists. I just got informed of this by the FBI.' Instead he lies," Donnelly said. "He comes out and lies because we all know this information was out there, but he didn't want to insult the faith that I believe he is secretly following, a follower, or he is simply sympathetic because they're doing the dirty work. Because he ultimately wants to see this country punished and taken down for what he considers to be crimes against the rest of the world."
Later that month, he returned to the same theme, calling the then-president "Ayatollah Obama." Arguing that Obama would never cut off immigration, trade, or diplomatic relations with "terrorist sponsoring countries," Donnelly endorsed the conspiracy theory that Obama had members of the Muslim Brotherhood in his administration.
"Think about that, but we will never hear that from Ayatollah Obama because that's what he really is," Donnelly said. "He is, in whatever way, I don't know what his connection to the Muslim Brotherhood is, but he's got them in all kinds of positions of power, other smarter people than me have have laid out the case and shown who these people are. I'm just seeing the result. You're seeing the results. You've been asking yourself, 'Why is it that he won't actually call Islamic jihadism, Islamic jihadism? Why is it that he's so passionate about taking away your guns, taking away your First Amendment, your right to speak the truth about this great evil?' But that's because it works. That's because it's part of a plan. That's because the left has always been more organized. They've had playbooks because they have people that get paid in the ivory towers to concoct these plans."
Donnelly had previously said in November 2015 that he was believed "more and more" Obama was part of the Muslim Brotherhood and doing their bidding.
Another subject Donnelly addressed on the show was his belief that the Obama administration was quick to label Dylann Roof, who has since been convicted of hate crimes in connection with his shooting of nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston in June 2015, a white supremacist, while refusing to call Muslim terrorists "Islamic jihadists."
Roof himself admitted to holding white supremacist views.
On his program the day after the San Bernardino shooting, Donnelly attributed this to the terrorists being "Obama's people, the Islamic people."
"I want to play you a little clip of the dictator-in-chief, the gun-controller-in-chief, I don't know what to call him today, who--this is his reaction and it's completely devoid of the same passion that he would have had if this individual had been Dylann Roof who killed nine black people in a church and could easily be demonized as a white supremacist, whereas these are Obama's people, the Islamic people," Donnelly said.
He returned to this theme days later, playing the audio from a video he had put out in which he addressed Lynch, saying that Obama had not asked "citizens to reserve judgment" about Roof, but had instead "encouraged more hate" with his rhetoric. Donnelly went on to say that if Lynch loved America, she would threaten to turn mosques "upside down" if they did not turn over terrorists and said that he himself would take up arms to "go after the jihadis next door," as well as those who appeared in his backyard.
"If you were an American who loved this country, you'd put the mosques on notice," Donnelly said in the comments directed at the then-attorney general. "You'd tell them, 'If you don't turn over the extremists and the jihadists within your midst then we'll set the FBI on you. We'll turn your mosques upside down. We'll make your lives a living hell until you rat out those who have declared war on America.' But instead you threaten the family and friends of the victims of your failure to identify and prosecute those who've sworn to kill anyone who doesn't pledge allegiance to their insane jihad."
He continued, "Well, I'm putting you on notice. If you don't go after the Islamic jihadis next door, we will. The only good jihadi is a dead jihadi. And the next jihadi to rear his or her ugly head in my backyard and point a weapon at me and my friends will get a 45 hollow point between the eyes. So if by refusing to be the next victim in the war the Islamic jihadis have declared on us somehow makes me an advocate of violence then bring it on. Come and arrest me. I'm not hard to find. And then you could explain to the American people why we are the target of your wrath, not the murderous bastards who slaughtered the innocent even at a Christmas party all in the name of the religion of peace."
In the same video broadcast on that show, Donnelly said that Lynch had been appointed to her job either because she was black or because of her "anti-American ideology."
"I'm not sure if you're an idiot or you're deliberately undermining the security of the United States," he said. "Whichever it is, you've violated your oath. I don't know how you got this job, whether it was your anti-American ideology or your skin color or both, but I'm going to tell you one thing: we, the people, of these United States refuse to be intimidated by you. You work for us."
Donnelly also promoted other conspiracy theories on his show.
In May 2015, he interviewed the author of an World Net Daily article, a website that traffics in conspiracy theories, which baselessly speculated that the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man, after he was in police custody was part of a conspiracy by the Obama administration and other authorities to impose martial law and suspend the 2016 election. Donnelly encouraged his listeners to read the article, which he called "excellent." He later approvingly said that his producer had told him that the article made "great points."
"On the break, my producer, who is not hyper-political made the comment that you make -- great points in this article -- and you were starting to talk about, is there something deeper or someone or organization or a collection of organizations behind what clearly seems to be an orchestrated attempt to undermine the rule of law and create anarchy in this country?" Donnelly said.
Correction: This story has been updated to correctly state the circumstances that led to Freddie Gray's death.