By Maggie Haberman
When Donald J. Trump emerged from the haze of his surprise victory in the presidential election, one of his first calls was apparently to an early supporter, a controversial radio host and conspiracy theorist with a large following.
The supporter, Alex Jones, the host of “The Alex Jones Show” and the operator of the website Infowars, says he fielded a phone call on Friday from the president-elect, thanking Mr. Jones for his support. The call served as a reminder that Mr. Jones, who has been repeatedly denounced in the mainstream news media, will remain someone whose support Mr. Trump wants.
“He was just thanking me for fighting so hard for Americans, and for Americanism, and thanking my listeners and supporters and to let me know that he was working really hard around the clock,” Mr. Jones said in a telephone interview this week.
Mr. Jones said he urged Mr. Trump to hold to his pledges to “go after the corruption in the government, and at least remove a lot of the establishment.”
Aides to Mr. Trump declined to respond to an email seeking comment on the phone call.
As a candidate, Mr. Trump generated headlines when he appeared on Mr. Jones’s Texas-based radio show during the Republican primary contests for a nearly half-hour interview. Mr. Jones thanked him at the end, informing the candidate that he would be “hit” for the appearance on what is considered a fringe show, despite its large audience.
Among Mr. Jones’s more suspect stances are his insistence that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was a hoax and that the government is creating chaos by manipulating weather systems. He has been loudly and roundly denounced by Democrats and some Republicans.
He is also a vocal opponent of trade and immigration, two issues that dovetailed with Mr. Trump’s hard-line positions during the primaries.
“I think he’s emerged as the single most powerful voice on the right,” Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser to Mr. Trump, said of Mr. Jones. It was Mr. Stone who connected Mr. Trump with Mr. Jones months ago.
“Elitists may laugh at his politics,” Mr. Stone said, adding, “Alex Jones is reaching millions of people, and they are the foot soldiers in the Trump revolution.”
Mr. Jones said Mr. Trump had promised to come on his radio show in the next few weeks. And the radio host is positioning himself as someone who will hold Mr. Trump accountable to the most anti-establishment voices in his party.
Mr. Jones said he planned to hold the incoming president to his campaign promises. That includes appointing cabinet members who will pursue investigations of Hillary Clinton, he said.
If that does not happen, Mr. Jones said, “yes, people will be upset.” It will be an indication of a return to politics as normal, he added.
Mr. Jones, who railed against the establishment news media throughout the interview, also warned Mr. Trump to keep listening to the grass-roots voters who helped elect him. Among the president-elect’s interviews since his victory has been a traditional sit-down with the CBS News program “60 Minutes,” one of the most establishment venues in journalism.
“If he starts acting like he’s divorced from us and doesn’t care about us, they’ll turn against him,” Mr. Jones said of Mr. Trump’s followers.
Mr. Trump needs to complete only a portion of his promises, he said.
“If he gets 20 percent done, people will be happy,” he said.