Hours before Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was scheduled to make a campaign stop in Hibbing, Minn., some voters on the Iron Range received robocalls Thursday from a white nationalist group urging them to support Donald Trump.
"Donald Trump is not a racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don't vote for a Cuban; vote for Donald Trump," William Johnson said on the 45-second automated message, paid for by the American Nationalist Super Pac.
Johnson, chairman of the American Freedom Party, launched the robocall campaign in January before the Iowa caucus, calling Trump its "Great White Hope." In Thursday's call, he identified himself only as "a farmer and white nationalist," and condemned what he called a white genocide in America and Europe.
At the end of the call, Johnson notes that Trump did not authorize the message.
Hibbing resident Roberta Maki, a registered DFLer, said she was shocked by the rhetoric when she played it back on her voice mail.
"It was just sort of surprising, because it's very brazen," said Maki, who thinks she was accidentally added to a GOP mailing list. "It was unbelievable. Somebody had to write this down, and it's not just a rant."
A robocall promoting Sanders came soon after with a much different tone. Sanders, the Vermont senator who's locked in a tight battle with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will hold a rally at Hibbing High School on Friday morning.
Maki said she remains undecided about where she'll stand on Super Tuesday, but she intends to support whichever Democratic candidate wins the party's nomination.
State Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, took to Twitter to inform her followers that she'd also received the call, and recorded the message on her phone. Rochester residents also reported on social media that they'd also been targeted by the group.
Trump, a New York businessman, is the Republican front-runner and has recently won primaries in Nevada, South Carolina and Iowa.
Here's a transcript of the robocall:
"The American Nationalist Super PAC makes this call to support Donald Trump. I am William Johnson, a farmer and white nationalist.
"The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called racist. This is our mind-set: It's OK that our government destroys our children's future, but don't call me racist. I'm afraid to be called racist. It's OK to give away our country for immigration, but don't call me racist. It's OK that few schools anymore have beautiful white children in the majority, but don't call me racist. Gradual genocide against the white race is OK, but don't call me racist. I'm afraid to be called racist.
"Donald Trump is not a racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don't vote for a Cuban; vote for Donald Trump.
"... This call is not authorized by Donald Trump.' "