Basketball player

Former basketball player Royce White seeks to challenge Omar for Congress as a Republican

Royce White’s campaign to win back U.S. Representative DFL Ilhan Omar’s fifth congressional district for the GOP for the first time in more than half a century began on Tuesday, alone in the biting cold of a snowstorm at the exterior of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.

White first rose to national prominence as a strong mental health advocate during his basketball career. His activism ranges from leading protests against police brutality to fighting vaccinations and other conservative causes.

Now, after becoming a regular guest on former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s online shows, White is fighting what he calls a “huge battle right now…against a globalist agenda” seeking to overturn the one of Republicans’ favorite targets of anger.

“This district has been voting blue for a long time and I hope I can change that,” White said in an interview Tuesday. “I hope I can make people see that for a long time they voted against their own interests.”

Bannon’s endorsement is the first words that appear in the two minute announcement video White shared on social media on Tuesday. In the video, White said her problem with Omar “isn’t that she’s not American or that she’s not from Minnesota.”

“She’s in on it, she’s a globalist,” the Minneapolis native said in the video. “He’s a puppet for the establishment. I’m here to sound the alarm.”

The term globalist has been used to promote anti-Semitic world order conspiracies. When later asked to clarify, White called any claim that the term was rooted in anti-Semitism “completely ridiculous”.

“Globalism is the ambition to undermine the value of individual citizenship through an economic attack on the nation-state,” he said.

White played college basketball for the University of Minnesota before transferring to Iowa State, where he achieved more success. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets from the NBA in 2012 but played little in the NBA. White has openly discussed his experiences with the anxiety disorder and has become an outspoken critic of the NBA’s approach to mental health.

White, who also competed in mixed martial arts, was a fixture at multiple protests following the police killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright. During the April 2021 uprising outside the Central Brooklyn Police Department following Wright’s death, White urged the crowd to storm a fence surrounding the department’s gate.

He said on Tuesday that the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic “and the general direction of the country”, coupled with encouragement from a series of mentors he would not list, helped him decide to run. in the elections.

Cicely Davis and Shukri Abdullahi Abdirahman are other candidates seeking Republican endorsement to challenge two-term incumbent Omar this year. Omar officially launched his re-election campaign last month.

According to public court records, White is the subject of several ongoing civil legal proceedings, including six active judgments against him that total nearly $178,000. The cases include non-payment of child support and a recently settled eviction case. While a freshman at the University of Minnesota in 2009, White pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and theft during a shoplifting and fight with a guard at the Mall of America.