President Donald Trump’s racist comments about Democratic congresswomen have won him renewed support from white supremacists who had been losing faith that he was the hero they wanted to create a prospering White America.
Trump told the four women of color that they should “go back” to the “crime infested places” they came from, even though three of the four were born in the US and the fourth is a naturalized citizen.
“Man, President Trump’s Twitter account has been pure fire lately. This might be the funniest thing he’s ever tweeted. This is the kind of WHITE NATIONALISM we elected him for,” wrote Andrew Anglin on his Daily Stormer site – one of the most highly trafficked neo-Nazi websites.
“And we’re obviously seeing it only because there’s another election coming up. But I’ll tell you, even knowing that, it still feels so good.”
White nationalists had become openly frustrated by Trump recently for the failure to build a border wall and the lack of a promised immigration crackdown. “With a single tweet, Trump was able to win back the sizeable deluded portion of the Alt-Right, eager to take another trip on the merry-go-round,” prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer wrote on Twitter. Spencer, who infamously declared “Hail Trump” following the 2016 election at an event where people were seen apparently giving the Nazi salute, told CNN he now thought Trump was talk and no action. Spencer was one of those who led a torch rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, during a weekend when a neo-Nazi drove a car at a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman.
Trump also received support from a well-known white supremacist organizer who goes by the name “Augustus Invictus.”
Threads on 8chan and Gab – platforms used by the far-right for their permissive approach to hate speech – included praise for Trump’s comments, with many repeating some of the false narrative about the congresswomen’s heritages put forth by the President. “Anti-white politicians come to our country. Rather than kissing the soil and feeling grateful, they desire to remove our borders, speech, monuments, firearms, flags, and every single other part of US culture,” one poster wrote. “Why the F*** are they in the US in the first place if they can’t do the bare minimum of adopting US values?”
On Monday Trump was asked if he was concerned that white nationalists were finding common cause with him because of his racist attack on the women.
Trump responded: “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. And all I’m saying, they want to leave, they can leave.”
One 8chan commenter wrote that they expected to see an uptick of supporters who “blindly emulate the President’s example.”
But they saw the reaction to Trump’s words as an “essential first step” in normalizing the hateful idea that individuals can choose not to exist alongside people they don’t like because of their skin color or where they come from.
The commenter wrote it would be a big step forward to normalize an idea that “it is ok for him not to want to be swamped by brown scum that clearly despise him, that these invaders have stepped well out of line making demands of us, and that if they don’t like the way we run things they can go the hell back,” the poster wrote. “These are the ideological seeds from which actual revolutions begin. When someone with perceived authority like Trump comes along and says them, it carries weight with many people. The jewish media is right to be terrified of these ideas becoming normalized.”
The White House and Trump himself continue to insist the racist tweets are not in fact racist. Trump tweeted Tuesday he did not have “a Racist bone in my body.”
His opponents have lined up to set the record straight including the targeted congresswomen, presidential candidates and a handful of members of the Republican Party.
“You’re right, Mr. President - you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the targeted congresswomen wrote in part on Twitter.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks incidents of hate, said Trump’s messages echo white supremacist talking points. “It’s hardly surprising that we’ve seen many white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Muslim extremists celebrating Trump’s outbursts,” he told CNN. “To bigots, these types of comments are not a just dog-whistle, they’re a bullhorn validating their beliefs.”