From the August 25 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live:
TAMRON HALL (HOST): Listen, you've got most people who would obviously say, “what is the alt-right” those who don’t constantly peruse the blogs all of their lives. So, explain who these people are.
JOY REID: Well, essentially Tameron, the alt-right consider themselves an alternative to traditional conservatism, which they think is weak tea. Their basic belief is that white Americans need to protect themselves against multiculturalism and immigration, which they believe are essentially watering down American culture and putting white people at a disadvantage. It's interesting that the term “bigot” was actually written into Donald Trump's speech, it wasn't an ad-lib, and that is actually a signal from the alt-right because they do believe that the real quote, unquote racism is racism against white Americans. So they're mostly young, they’re very tech-savvy, they've been connected to things like gamer-gate, going after women, going after people of color. What you’re seeing happen to Leslie Jones, that's a prime example.
HALL: So what's the difference in, I guess, the alt-right and white nationalists, white supremacists, KKK, are these all the same people, just with a different name here?
REID: Well, just as David Duke took the KKK and dressed it up in a suit and tie, the alt-right is also white nationalism. But they differentiate themselves in their own minds, saying well, they are pro-white, and that they claim that that is not racism. So they are basically the next generation of what are traditionally the neo-Nazi movements, the KKK, they are essentially saying they are a pro white movement that wants to make America more masculine. They feel America has become to feminized, they're against interventions in foreign wars and they peg neoconservatism as sort of a Jewish intervention in conservatism. So they are essentially -- they are the same thing. But a new breed.
HALL: When Hillary Clinton attempts to tie Donald Trump to the alt-right, what proof does she, or anyone, have to point to that he has either courted these people or somehow enjoyed their attention and their support?
REID: Well, Donald Trump, there have been several studies that have shown how many times he's retweeted neo-Nazis on social media, more than anyone else and the only other person that’s come even close is one of his two children. They tend to retweet items from neo-Nazi followers on social media. That's one thing. And then [Former Breitbart CEO Steve] Bannon himself, who has embraced the alt-right, he’s said he wanted to make Breitbart.com the home of the alt-right. And remember even before he got there, Breitbart made its name going after Shirley Sherrod, going after ACORN., trying to promote this idea of reverse racism. So it was a natural place for the alt-right to gravitate to.
HALL: Is there a leader of the alt-right movement? Is there one person, other than maybe this other than this association with Breitbart.com and some of their people, that lead this -- a face for this movement?
REID: Well, there isn't that people would really know. There are a lot of different sites. One of the earliest ones that was associated was a site called VDARE.com, which was named after Virginia Dare, the first white settler in Virginia. They were an early proponent of stopping nonwhite immigration. But there are several people associated with it who call themselves racialists.
HALL: Here we go though, we’re talking about Ann Coulter and others who are more mainstream conservatives. If they're upset with Donald Trump opening the door, potentially, to new rules for immigration, not the rules they were hoping for, the alt-right who supported him hearing that he will allow for a legal status for undocumented immigrants, I imagine a lot of fingers on Twitter directed toward him.
REID: Yeah, absolutely. But there is a split, I think, between the main base of Donald Trump's support is in a lot of ways a cult of personality. I'm not sure they can be swayed by anything he does. But his supporters in the alt-right, who by the way cheered when Steve Bannon was added to that campaign, they said that their movement was becoming mainstream because of it. You will probably see some fissures there.
HALL: Listen, Donald Trump polled that audience. We know he goes on to social media and polls nicknames for people, he floats out ideas. To see him poll -- I think I'm no therapist here, some would say it's clear that he doesn't know which way to go, and if he gets enough pressure from the alt-right type people, Breitbart, whomever, he may change his mind. He doesn't have anything on paper yet.
REID: Exactly. And he's getting a lot of pressure from doctrinaireRepublicans to try to in some ways reach out to people of color. So he's doing this dual dance, where he has the alt right in his pocket, wants to keep their support, but he also wants to do something to change his numbers among people of color and Latinos. You really kind of can't do both. But that is what he is trying to do.
HALL: There’s [not been a person in history who’s been supported by an alt-right organization and then blacks and Hispanics.
REID: Yeah, David Duke and the African-American community and alt-right all in one coalition would be unprecedented.