Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Sunday said he “disavowed” the online support he’s received for his campaign by some white nationalists.
“I disavowed any of that support,” the businessman said at his CNN presidential town hall. “I don’t want anyone that has an agenda different than that of this campaign. We’re trying to solve the problem.”
Yang is considered a long-shot candidate for the 2020 presidential race, but his internet-driven campaign has recently received attention following news that he garnered support from several white nationalist accounts on internet discussion boards, including Reddit.
The 44-year-old, who is the son of Taiwanese immigrants, joked Sunday that the support was confusing because “I don’t look much like a white nationalist.”
He said he believes the support from white nationalists could be the result of him retweeting a New York Times article about the opioid crisis’ impact on white populations in the Midwest and the South.
NBC recently reported that Discord, an online startup chat room where Yang’s campaign would try to organize support, has begun to attract some alt-right users from 4chan, a fringe discussion forum that often hosts white nationalist rhetoric.
Yang also suggested Sunday that the white nationalist support for him could also come from his book, “The War on Normal People,” where he wrote that the group he worries about most in the U.S. is poor white people.
“In the context of my book, I was saying, how will this tribalism and violence manifest itself? Poor whites who felt like they had no future and then that violence would emerge in large part because that group would become increasingly angry and distressed,” he said. “That’s the context of the book.”
He recently appeared as a guest on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast. Rogan is considered popular on online discussion forums, including 4chan.
Though Yang isn’t a frontrunner in the race, he has attracted attention for some of his viewpoints, including his belief that there should be a universal basic income of $1,000 a month for all Americans. He is also against the practice of circumcision, which he tweeted about and discussed in an interview with The Daily Beast.
More recently, the candidate told TMZ that he wants to campaign using a hologram of himself.
The 2020 candidate announced his run for president back in 2017, before most other Democratic contenders.