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This UKIP MEP Has More Links To Trump's Administration Than Theresa May Does

Roger Helmer, a climate change denier you've probably never heard of, has more contacts with the future US government than the prime minister does.

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A UKIP MEP you've probably never heard of may be the British politician with some of the closest ties to the future Trump administration.

Though Nigel Farage's aides claimed that when Donald Trump becomes president, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, will "run ideas" through the interim UKIP leader before contacting Theresa May, there's another UKIP member who is also well connected.

Former Tory Roger Helmer, who joined UKIP in 2014 and has been an MEP since 1999, has staunchly conservative views on social issues and climate change that have brought him close to certain GOP figures.

With Newt Gingrich at the ALEC Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Helmer is also close to the Heritage Foundation, an "aggressively conservative" think tank that was influential under the Reagan administration and is now effectively running Trump's transition team.

This allowed him to meet not only people from the organisation, some of whom are now working with the president-elect on his future cabinet, but also Republican senators and governors who may well end up running the US come January.

Helmer confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he had in fact met a number of key people linked to Trump, but added: "I wouldn't say I was in day-to-day contact with any of these people."

1. Sam Brownback

A former senator and current governor of Kansas, Brownback is on the conservative wing of the Republican party.

He met Helmer in Washington, DC, in May 2008, where the two took part in a seminar on US policy towards the UK and the EU, organised by the Heritage Foundation.

Brownback was named as one of the potential candidates to be agriculture secretary in Trump's cabinet.


2. Rick Perry

After spending 15 years as governor of Texas, Perry tried – and failed – to get the Republican nomination in 2012 and 2016.

He was pictured with Roger Helmer in Dallas in August 2014 at a conference organised by ALEC, a powerful conservative think tank.

Perry campaigned for Trump in the run-up to the election and was contacted by the president-elect's transition team on 9 November.

No other details are yet known, but it is rumoured he was offered a role in the Trump administration.

3. Jim DeMint

A former figurehead of the tea party movement, DeMint resigned from his post as South Carolina senator in 2013 to become president of the Heritage Foundation.

He met the UKIP MEP in 2008, and the two of them had a meeting to talk about "defence issues", according to Helmer's blog.

Though it hasn't been suggested that DeMint will get a job in Trump's cabinet, the Heritage Foundation remains very close to Trump and is expected to have a strong influence on policy and appointments.

4. Newt Gingrich

A major figure on the GOP's right wing, Gingrich is the former speaker of the House of Representatives, and was considered as a potential running mate for Trump before he picked Mike Pence.

Gingrich met Helmer in 2014 at a breakfast during the ALEC conference mentioned above, and they were pictured together here.

A senior ally of Trump's, Gingrich is expected to become either secretary of state or secretary of health and human services in 2017.


5. Becky Norton Dunlop

Another conservative linked to the Heritage Foundation, Dunlop started her political career in the White House under Reagan.

She has met Helmer several times, including at the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe in November 2016 and the Jerusalem Leaders' Summit a year earlier.

She is currently working in Trump's transition team as deputy to Ed Feulner, who is understood to be assembling lists of recommendations for appointments in the next cabinet.


6. Jon Kyl

Now a lobbyist for an international law firm, Kyl was a senator in Arizona for 18 years, and was ranked in 2007 as the fourth-most conservative senator in the US.

He met Helmer in 2008 when they both addressed a reception at the Margaret Thatcher Centre in Washington, DC, which is also part of the Heritage Foundation.

Kyl may be on the verge of joining politics again, as he is one of the potential picks for defence secretary in Trump's government.



Marie Le Conte is a politics and media reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Marie Le Conte at marie.leconte@buzzfeed.com.

Paul Curry is an editorial developer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Paul Curry at Paul.Curry@BuzzFeed.com.

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