Billionaire GOP Donor Joe Rickett's Emails Include Racist 'Star Trek' Jokes, Slurs and Obama Conspiracies

Joe Ricketts, founder of brokerage firm TD Ameritrade and scion of a prominent family of Republican politicians and donors—including his sons, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts and Todd, finance chairman of the Republican National Committees Trump Victory Committee—endorses and shares racist conspiracy theories in new emails revealed by Splinter on Monday.

Ricketts, 77, has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting conservative causes, including a $1 million pledge to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. In addition to their political connections, the Ricketts are also owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The newly published emails provide insight into the ideological convictions of the most powerful Republican donors in the country, exposing conspiracy theories and prejudices behind their more composed, public-facing initiatives against social programs, unions and increased taxes on the rich.

"I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails," Ricketts said in a statement posted to his website. "Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I've said things that don't reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong."

Several of the emails released by Splinter show Ricketts was open to the racist "Birther" conspiracy theory—promoted by Trump since 2011—sharing a heavily-edited YouTube conspiracy video titled "Obama Admits He is a Muslim" with his two sons and Republican strategist Fred Davis. In 2011, Ricketts also shared a forwarded email alleging then-president Barack Obama not only isn't a U.S. citizen, but was once a sex worker in Pakistan who later purchased a fake diploma with profits made by smuggling heroin. Obama's political success is chalked up solely to his ability to "speak like a white man."

Ricketts is particularly fixated on "Radical Islam," writing in one email that "Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy due to their deep antagonism and bias against non-Muslims," further applauding efforts to increase fracking in the United States as a necessary prophylactic against the "antagonism and aggression of Muslims" in oil-producing Middle East nations. "We must all recognize the Islam [sic] is a dangerous element in our society due to its radical aspects."

One shocking email sent to Ricketts includes a racist Star Trek joke "The Iranian Ambassador to the U.N. had just finished giving a speech and walked out into the lobby of the convention center where he met U.S. General Petraeus," the joke begins.

"The Iranian whispered, 'My son watches this show called Star Trek and in it there is Chekhov who is Russian, Scotty who is Scottish, Uhura who is black and Sulu who is Japanese, but no Muslims. My son is very upset and doesn't understand why there aren't any Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians or Pakistanis on Star Trek.'

The General laughed, leaned toward the Iranian ambassador and whispered back, 'That's because it takes place in the future.'"

Ricketts responded, "Good one. thx," and proposes a fishing trip. Rickett's stream of anti-Muslim emails and conspiracy theories prompted his son, Governor Ricketts of Nebraska, to urge his father to check Snopes.com, a site that fact checks the veracity of chain emails and other urban legends, viral stories and conspiracy theories that spread online.

But Ricketts prejudices extend beyond Muslims. Responding to another joke premised on Muslims, Mexicans, ex-con "Gang Bangers" burning to death while a white couple survives the fire because "They were at work," Ricketts responded simply "very good."

Ricketts replied "great laugh" to yet another racist joke—this one with a punchline dependent on the n-word—emailed to him by an associate. "I tired of Political Correct, Multicultural and Diversity aspects of our culture," Ricketts writes in another email.

Ricketts even touches on Seinfeld star Michael Richard's infamous 2006 on-stage rant, replying "Thanks H., I like this," to a long email using Richard's slur-filled set as a launching point to complain about black colleges, the hypocrisy of a multi-racial Miss America pageant, the lack of a White History Month and the novel anti-white slur "Caveman." Loaded with offensive slurs for Muslim, Jewish, Mexican, Arab and Asian people, the email ends, in all-caps and bright red font "BE PROUD TO BE WHITE."

Updated with a statement from Joe Ricketts.

Billionaire GOP Donor Joe Rickett's Emails Include Racist 'Star Trek' Jokes, Slurs and Obama Conspiracies | U.S.