One of Donald Trump's biggest financial backers is facing a lawsuit alleging a series of racially charged comments he made to a former employee, including that the only racist people in America are Blacks, being given equal rights under the law made Blacks lazy and segregation was not an important issue.
According to complainant Dave Magerman, a former research scientist with the company, he was suspended and then fired for speaking publicly about his former boss' political views.
Robert Mercer, co-chief executive officer of Renaissance Technologies, donated $13.5 million to Trump's campaign, The Guardian reported in February. Additionally, according to CNN Money, "Mercer contributed more than $15 million to a conservative super PAC, Keep the Promise I/Make America Number 1, according to financial records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics." The super PAC began supporting Trump after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race.
According to the lawsuit, in January, just before Trump's inauguration, Magerman called Mercer to discuss his political views, knowing he was an influential Trump supporter. At this time, the complaint says, Mercer made a slew of racially charged remarks.
Among his comments, Mercer said the only racists in America were Blacks and that the country "began to go in the wrong direction" following the Civil Rights Act's passage and that Blacks were doing fine before being afforded equal rights. Mercer also expressed his belief that giving Blacks equal rights the Civil Rights Act made them lazy and "dependent on government and removing any incentive to work," the lawsuit claims. Additionally, Mercer allegedly said that whites have no hostility toward Blacks anymore, "and if there is any, it is not something the government should be concerned with," the filing claims Mercer said.
Magerman allegedly pointed out the consequences of segregation, leaving Blacks to attend inferior schools and keeping them out of all-white establishments as well as subjecting them to separate water fountains.
"Mercer responded that those issues were not important," the filing claims.
Magerman then, according to the claim, relayed the conversation to Peter Brown, Mercer's co-CEO.
Mercer allegedly confronted Magerman for "going around saying I'm a white supremacist," which Magerman denied, while reminding Mercer of his previous comments, at which time Mercer reaffirmed his views.
After doing an interview on Mercer's political standpoint with the Wall Street Journal, Magerman was suspended without pay. Eventually, "at the direction of Mercer and in further retaliation for Magerman's criticism of Mercer's political activities and the causes he supports," Magerman was fired.
In addition to his large contributions to Trump, Mercer was also a large financial force behind the foundation of Breitbart, an alt-right news site founded by current White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Mercer's daughter reportedly encouraged Trump to hire Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to Trump.
According to The New Yorker, Mercer's political contributions were strategic and impactful, totaling $22.5 million "in disclosed donations to Republican candidates and to political-action committees."
"Mercer's political efforts stand apart," The New Yorker reports. "Adopting the strategy of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire libertarians, Mercer enlarged his impact exponentially by combining short-term campaign spending with long-term ideological investments. He poured millions of dollars into Breitbart News, and — in what David Magerman has called 'an extreme example of modern entrepreneurial philanthropy' — made donations to dozens of politically tinged organizations."
Following the release of taped footage of Trump making comments about sexually harassing women, the Mercers released a statement to The Washington Post expressing their continued support for the candidate.
"We are completely indifferent to Mr. Trump's locker room braggadocio," the statement said, adding:
"America is finally fed up and disgusted with its political elite. Trump is channeling this disgust and those among the political elite who quake before the boombox of media blather do not appreciate the apocalyptic choice that America faces on November 8th. We have a country to save and there is only one person who can save it. We, and Americans across the country and around the world, stand steadfastly behind Donald J. Trump."