From the November 22 edition of MSNBC’s MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall:
TAMRON HALL (HOST): You just, Roland, interviewed Richard Spencer. Curiously, he refers to himself as “alt-right,” not a white nationalist, how does he make the difference between the two?
ROLAND MARTIN: Well, frankly, he essentially confirmed he is a white nationalist, he said he prefers “alt-right,” but then went on to explain that “oh, I'm concerned about my people, folks who are of European descent, and I’m fighting for my people.” That's white nationalism. Now, he did say he's not a white supremacist, but he danced around the whole issue of being a white nationalist.
HALL: You've interviewed presidents, you've interviewed the candidates. I'm curious, Richard Spencer, why he decided to talk to you.
MARTIN: Well, this is the second time I've interviewed him. We talked earlier in the campaign, I also had one of the “white lives matter” activists on, and in my career I’ve interviewed Klansmen as well, and look, here's a guy who is trying to get maximum exposure for what they're doing, and he is certainly someone who is to the extreme. But what's important for us in media to understand is that there are a significant number of people who also maintain the same perspective, that what we're seeing is sort of loss in white culture. In 2009, when I was at CNN, John Avlon from The Daily Beast and I were talking, and I told him, I said, “John what we're about to face with the election of President Barack Obama is the beginning stages of white minority resistance. As America becomes more a majority minority, you're going to see this,” and that's what we're seeing. And see, we're even normalizing it by calling “alt-right.” What does that even mean? When, for the last 40, 50 years, we've called it “white nationalist,” or “white supremacist.”
HALL: Right. Well, Roland, we're both from Texas, we've covered the militia, and we covered all of what happened after the Oklahoma City bombing, and to your point, I think a lot of average people are like, “what is the ‘alt-right,’ and is that some media-made word?” No, it's what white nationalists use as, basically, a marketing campaign.
MARTIN: Yes. It allows for them to be able -- it's nicer, it’s cleaner, it's more acceptable, as opposed to “white nationalist.” I don't use the term “alt-right,” I call it what it is, white nationalist, because that's what it speaks to.
HALL: Let me play what Richard Spencer said in the interview about European identity.
HALL: “Throw it back in their enemy's faces.” And he also talked about people are paying a lot attention to them, which is your point about why he would come on to be interviewed by you, knowing you're an exceptional journalist, but also knowing that it's going to set off heat. But you have the president-elect over the weekend tweeting feverishly about the Hamilton situation, his team has released this statement, even emailing me, reminding me of this statement that he's denounced racism, but no flurry of tweets from the president-elect regarding this “alt-right,” which, to their point, everyone is watching. And if he saw what happened at Hamilton and he was up watching SNL to comment on the performance of Alec Baldwin, why not a Twitter storm on this? What do you think?
MARTIN: Because he has been pushing these buttons, because he is speaking to white nationalism, he is speaking to that, and that's why. And so, look, I even asked Richard Spencer about the whole, “heil Hitler,” he went, “no one said that.” And then he tried to tell me, “only four or five people.” He literally said, “well, they were exuberant.” This guy was dismissing, literally, the Nazi salute. No, this is all by design. President-elect Donald Trump must condemn it, he must say it is shameful. But he is playing footsie here, and that's the real problem. And the reason I wanted Richard Spencer on the show, because I want people to understand that this is what we're about to face, not the next two or four years, but the next 30 years.
HALL: Just quickly, you know that people will say, we're giving them attention, this room filled with about 100, when the other groups hopefully that don't want this divisiveness are far more than them. What do you say to people who say, “you guys are covering this for the ratings,” and so on?
MARTIN: No, bottom line is, you and I live, we are from Texas, we've been across this country. The sentiments of Richard Spencer have been expressed, and millions across this country, we want to deny it, but it's there, and like I told him point-blank, as a black man, Latinos, we're not going anywhere. It's our country too. You better get used to sharing power and get used to sharing resources, because we're not going anywhere, Richard.