Royce White—Steve Bannon Protege Who Called Our Reporter a “Cuck”—Endorsed by Minnesota GOP for Senate

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 29: Former NBA player Royce White speaks during a protest outside the Hennepin County Government Center on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. White, a Minnesota native, joined former NBA player Stephen Jackson calling for the prosecution the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd.Stephen Maturen/Getty

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In 2022, Royce White—a former first-round NBA draft pick and George Floyd protest leader—ran in the primary for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District as a far-right Republican and disciple of Steve Bannon. White lost—badly. This is probably because he was hard to take seriously as a candidate. White’s campaign centered less on issues affecting Minnesota voters and more on incendiary comments about the Chinese Communist Party, women, and Jews.

At the time, it prompted the obvious question: What happened to turn this erstwhile civil rights activist into MAGA podcaster? We published a long piece examining White’s “tinfoil hat populism.” (To give a sense of White’s tone, he called our reporter a “cuck” for doing that work; fun!)

After this defeat, one might assume an end to White’s political journey. Especially because, in many ways, his public image has somehow gotten worse. Earlier this week, the Daily Beast reported that White’s 2022 campaign spent lavishly, including thousands at strip clubs.

But, no quitter, White persisted. In an outsider campaign, he announced last year he would run for US Senate in 2024. This week—somehow—White won the endorsement of the Republican party to face Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota.

White’s endorsement perhaps shows the degree to which a new Republican party is emerging. Or, it could simply be a quirk of a weird election year. But, either way, you should go read Eamon’s old piece outlining White’s rise (perhaps descent is the better term) to MAGA candidate.

There is one part that has always stuck with me from that piece. For it, Eamon talked with White’s grandfather, Frank White, an elder statesman in the Minnesota sporting scene.

“I’m proud of my grandson, but do I agree with his politics? No,” White told us at the time. “He told me, ‘Hey grandpa, I’m going to be on Steve Bannon’s podcast.’ I said, ‘Do you know who Steve Bannon is, man?’” White continued: “There’s no way I can support my grandson supporting the GOP, and in essence, Trump. This is a guy who wants to be a dictator. Think about what that means. You’re a person of color. Do you think you fit in his plans?”