Hardball's Chris Matthews Identifies The “Alt-Right” As “A Group Of White Nationalists -- That's What They Are”

SPLC's Richard Cohen: “They See A Kindred Spirit In Trump. They Have A Champion In Breitbart And Bannon”

From the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

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CHRIS MATTHEWS (HOST): Donald Trump's candidacy emboldened many on the right-wing fringe to speak their minds more freely during the campaign. Now some of those voices say they believe his presidency will help to bring their movements out from the shadows and into the mainstream. This weekend, for example, at the Ronald Reagan building here in Washington, a group of white nationalists -- that's what they are -- celebrated Trump's victory at an event hosted by a think tank called The National Policy Institute. The group was led by a Richard Spencer, who says his first -- he first coined the term alt-right, he did it, to describe his ideology. According to The New York Times, quote, “Spencer railed against Jews and with a smile quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German.” Anyway, “America,” he said, “belonged to white people,” whom he called the “children of the sun, a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized. But now in the era of president-elect Donald Trump, were awakening to their own identity” . Those are his words.


MATTHEWS: This big meeting over the weekend is the kind of thing that I think deserves note from everybody, and it shouldn't just go by with the people who did the Nazi salute. Everybody should know what's going on. What is this group up to? This National Policy Institute, with what looks like a nationalist, a white nationalist crusade going on within our borders?

RICHARD COHEN: That's exactly right, Chris. It's a scary development, and Trump and Bannon have given them a new platform. These groups used to exist on the fringe of society. Breitbart, in Bannon's terms, has given them a platform for their ideas. And Trump has been their champion, ever since he came down that escalator at Trump Tower and called Mexicans rapists. So they see a kindred soul in Trump. They have a champion in Breitbart and Bannon, and they're feeling their oats now. That's what's going on.

MATTHEWS: What do they want? What do they want? If you had to go to a police station right now and report them if they committed a crime, what would you say was their motive in life? Why do they meet together? Why did they do the Nazi salute? What excites them about Trump winning?

COHEN: Richard Spencer is very clear. He wants an ethno-nationalist state. He wants a white America. He believes in peaceful ethnic cleansing. He wants a state that's built on very different principles than the Declaration of Independence. Those are his words.


ASAWIN SUEBSAENG: You ask me how would I describe Steve Bannon because there's been a good deal of debate about this in media circles. Should we call him a racist? Should we call him a white nationalist? I would say he is a nationalist, that is how he self-identifies, with hard-right views who has used his website as a platform for, in part, white nationalist and the racist alt-right. So that is an accurate way to frame this, I would say.


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