Tucker Carlson's 8 p.m. show on Fox News is the third most popular cable news show in the country, and he's quickly made use of his rising popularity to turn white nationalist narratives into prime-time stories. Carlson's brand has drawn a following of notable white supremacists, anti-Semites, and misogynists, making him a media figurehead among the “alt-right.”
His show has also grabbed the attention of the president. In August, President Donald Trump responded to a fearmongering Carlson segment on “white oppression” in South Africa, stating that he had ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate the issue.
Here is Carlson using language that echoes notable far-right figures:
The figures in this video:
Lana Lokteff: Lokteff runs the white supremacist internet media company Red Ice TV with her husband, Henrik Palmgren. Red Ice TV has hosted extremist Richard Spencer and featured Holocaust denier Kevin MacDonald discussing the “JQ” (Jewish Question). Lokteff and Palmgren took part in the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA. The Daily Beast recently reported that “Red Ice regularly promotes hate against immigrants and Jews, riling up its listeners with claims that white people are ... facing extinction at hands of minority groups.”
Jared Taylor: Taylor is the head of the white nationalist American Renaissance group. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Taylor “believes black people are genetically predisposed to lower IQs” than white people and that Black people “are sexually promiscuous because of hyperactive sex drives.” Taylor has appeared on talk shows to attack the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Richard Spencer: Spencer coined the term “alt-right” and has described the movement as “an ideology around identity, European identity.” The Anti-Defamation League described Spencer as “a symbol of a new generation of intellectual white supremacists” who “runs a variety of ventures that promote racist ideology.” Spencer was one of the leading forces behind the violent white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA, in 2017.
Christopher Cantwell: Cantwell is known as the “Crying Nazi” because of his appearance in a Vice documentary about the Charlottesville rally. The self-described white nationalist used pepper spray on counterprotestors during the event and has since been barred from entering Virginia for five years.
David Duke: Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. The Anti-Defamation League describes Duke as “perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite.” It says he “promotes anti-Semitic and white supremacist views as the leader of the white supremacist European American Unity and Rights Organization, as a writer of anti-Semitic tracts, and, in recent years, as an international figure who has promoted his anti-Jewish ideology in Europe and the Middle East, devoting particular attention to Russia and the Ukraine.”
Brian Culpepper: Culpepper is a longtime member of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement, acting as the group's public relations officer for a number of years. He was one of the speakers at a 2017 “White Lives Matter” rally in Tennessee.
Mike Enoch: Enoch’s real name is Mike Peinovich. He is the founder of the racist and anti-Semitic website The Right Stuff. He hosts an anti-Semitic podcast called The Daily Shoah. He has said that the core principle of the “alt-right” is “ethno-nationalism, meaning that nations should be as ethnically and racially homogeneous as possible.” He is pictured here giving a Nazi salute.
There has been a massive backlash following Laura Ingraham's anti-immigrant rant on her Fox News show. Ingraham's arguments are directly reminiscent of arguments made by white supremacists Jared Taylor, Richard Spencer, and David Duke.
Duke, unsurprisingly, was one of the few to endorse what Ingraham said.
YouTube’s restrictions are not enough to discourage extremists from using the platform to spread white supremacy
As evidenced by a recent appearance former Klu Klux Klan’s leader David Duke made on a YouTube livestream, the company’s measures to deal with content produced by extremists are seemingly not enough to dissuade white supremacists from using the platform to evangelize and make money. While YouTube has put other appearances by Duke behind a warning explaining that users have flagged the content as inappropriate, the June 27 livestream has no such label.
On June 27, Jean Francois Gariepy hosted a livestream -- which, as of this writing, has over 22,800 views -- on his channel featuring Duke and known neo-Nazi Mark Collett. According to The Daily Beast, Gariepy has called in the past for “a white ethnostate” and featured other extremists like Richard Spencer on his YouTube channel. Collett, a neo-Nazi who was recently elevated by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Twitter, has repeatedly collaborated with Duke and expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler. The livestream included the Youtube feature Super Chat, through which users can pay for their messages to stand out during a live chat, allowing Gariepy to earn money from users paying to highlight racist slogans like “it’s OK to be white.” During the livestream, Collett bragged about the success of his channel despite YouTube’s restrictions on his “most successful video,” an anti-Semitic tirade titled “The Jewish role in the refugee crisis.” Though his anti-Semitic video displays a warning from YouTube that users have flagged the content, it is still easily accessible after a click.
Duke complained that his appearance on a June 19 livestream on Gariepy’s channel had been restricted, but Gariepy claimed that YouTube didn’t delete the video meant the platform was “admitting that there was no hate speech in there.”
DAVID DUKE: I’m still kind of recovering from our last show. I’m really kind of angry at YouTube and it’s just amazing to think that this broadcast -- there was no hatred in it, it was very decent, it was just criticizing some aspects of racism in a different way, and it had a 95 percent positive rating, it had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of comments and they were overwhelmingly positive, and they even blocked out the ratings, they blocked out being able to comment, they blocked out being able to share directly, which really hurts a video, and they also wouldn’t put the numbers -- I think you’ve had about 40,000 views now, only you can see that, the average person cannot see that around the world. It’s just -- it’s amazing. That is very powerful propaganda, right? Because they don’t want people to know and people to see that there’s a lot of support for an idea when 95 percent of the watchers say this is great. They know that when people see that, that it makes people also tend to understand it’s OK, it’s alright to like it, psychologically, and that’s what they always do on the other side. So it’s OK to like this interview, and it’s OK to be white.
JEAN FRANCOIS GARIEPY: Absolutely. And by choosing to censor in that way and not delete the video, they’re essentially admitting, YouTube is admitting, that there was no hate speech in there. There was not a single sentence that could be interpreted as hate speech. However, as we’ve seen many times in the past, the subject of Zionism, of the involvement of Jewish people in certain industries, has always been a subject that YouTube tries to hide, tries to hide any form of encouragement and any form of social sharing. It is sad. We’ve documented right here on the show, the “Frame Game” reports the kind of advocacy groups that are behind that kind of censorship. They are advocacy groups that are tracking our activities. They are organized and financed for the purpose of reporting these videos as hate speech when in fact they are not.
On the June 19 appearance that YouTube placed behind a warning, Duke claimed Washington, D.C., is “occupied by the Zionists.” He also went on to say that Jewish people “control most of the media conglomerates” and control “Hollywood, which dishes out horrific hate propaganda, the destructive propaganda against our people, against our heritage, against true values of humanity, the true human values.”
After issuing an apology to advertisers for placing their brands over toxic content and allowing extremist content creators to make money, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki had reiterated her promises, saying, “We can, and we will, do better.” Yet Duke’s repeated appearances on Gariepy’s thriving channel clearly demonstrate that the mechanisms the platform has put in place to identify and combat extremism are not enough to deter content creators who profit from spreading toxic messaging.
On June 12, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) quote-tweeted an anti-immigrant tweet from British neo-Nazi Mark Collett. It's not the first time King has elevated white supremacist talking points on Twitter.
Media Matters reported on Collett’s history when Fox News host Laura Ingraham quoted him in a tweet in January. At the time, we noted that Mark Collett is a former chairman of the youth division of the British National Party (BNP), a far-right political organization in the United Kingdom, who was eventually dismissed from the party and arrested for death threats against its leader, a political rival. Collett has repeatedly collaborated with former Ku Klux Klan leader and radio host David Duke, who has endorsed Collett’s book. Collett once expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler, has said that he considered AIDS a “friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it,” and has referred to asylum seekers as “cockroaches.” Collett also campaigned in support of Brexit with his girlfriend, who has multiple Nazi tattoos.
Angry White Men, a blog that tracks far-right people and groups, flagged King’s quote-tweet and shared a number of pieces laying out Collett’s racist extremism in a Twitter thread.
U.S. representative just retweeted a Neo-Nazi. https://t.co/Eprgy3gs0L
— John Brown Did Nothing Wrong (@EyesOnTheRight) June 12, 2018
Let's learn about Mark Collett.https://t.co/6AM9Y4dNXr
— John Brown Did Nothing Wrong (@EyesOnTheRight) June 12, 2018
King has a record of pushing white supremacist narratives on Twitter. He once tweeted that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" and then doubled-down on his statement after receiving backlash. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised King for his tweet:
As Vice documented, King’s bigotry has been on display beyond Twitter as well. He’s compared undocumented immigrants to livestock, pushed the birther conspiracy theory that claims Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and referred to the former president as “very, very urban,” and said that only Europe and the U.S. have contributed to civilization.
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During a meeting on immigration policy in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump reportedly questioned the United States’ policy of accepting immigrants from, what he said, were “shithole countries,” such as Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. In the aftermath of the president’s racist remarks, many in right-wing media rallied around him to defend his comments.
On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right, ultranationalist Britain First political organization, who has previously been “found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment.” Trump’s retweets of three videos attempting to link Muslims to violent crime, one of which has been debunked and the other two of which lacked context, were praised by white nationalists and far-right ideologues on Twitter and by internet trolls on 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit message boards. At least one prominent fake news website also defended Trump’s retweets.
Prominent white nationalist David Duke:
Trump retweets video of crippled white kid in Europe being beaten by migrants, and white people being thrown off a roof and then beaten to death, He's condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON'T. Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him!
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) November 29, 2017
Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson:
When you get outraged over Trump retweeting Britain First yet simultaneously support Antifa, an extremist group that violently attacks people with bike locks, pepper spray & rocks for having a different opinion. pic.twitter.com/2Kfac2liNI
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) November 29, 2017
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) November 29, 2017
Far-right vlogger and identitarian movement supporter Peter Sweden:
Trump retweeted @JaydaBF of the party Britain First !!!
He actually did it. Mainstream media hate articles incoming in 3...2...1... pic.twitter.com/0kuB4EFS19
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) November 29, 2017
White nationalist podcast host James Allsup:
The dishonest lying press is more upset about Trump sharing videos of migrant crime than they are about migrants raping, beating, and murdering Europeans across the continent. #WednesdayWisdom #FakeNews pic.twitter.com/5W89Kf1Ure
— James 😇 Allsup (@realJamesAllsup) November 29, 2017
Trump may not be perfect, but just think: instead of a president ignoring and obfuscating the problems surrounding mass migration, we have a president literally retweeting Liveleak-style migrant crime videos. Important paradigm shift. pic.twitter.com/UDkcyH4mq4
— James 😇 Allsup (@realJamesAllsup) November 29, 2017
White nationalist associate of Richard Spencer, Evan McLaren:
— Evan McLaren (@EvanMcLaren) November 29, 2017
White nationalist congressional hopeful Grant J. Kidney:
Thoughts on Trump retweeting videos showcasing dangers of Islam. 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/T54Fe5cR9t
— GRANT J. KIDNEY 🇺🇸 (@GrantJKidney) November 29, 2017
White nationalist group Defend Europa:
Trump Tweets Anti-Islam Video From UK Nationalist Grouphttps://t.co/2hdUv7h2gX
— Defend Europa (@DefendEvropa) November 29, 2017
Anti-immigration hate website VDARE:
We should annex Britain tbh
— Virginia Dare (@vdare) November 29, 2017
A poster on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” message board: “Trump just went full alt right.”
Another 4chan/pol/ user wrote, “PRAISE TRUMP,” calling the videos Trump shared “/POL/-TIER MUSLIM CHIMPOUT VIDEOS” -- an indication that the videos were extreme enough to have been promoted by 4chan users.
One user on the 8chan/pol/ message board, in reference to Trump’s tweets, wrote, “I'm still not tired of winning. Sieg fucking heil.”
And on the pro-Trump subreddit “/r/The_Donald,” one user shared the videos Trump retweeted and directed other users to an online tool that can be used to download the videos, likely to share them through different mediums.
Fake news website Conservative Tribune praised Trump’s tweetstorm in a post, writing, “Refusing to cower to political correctness, President Donald Trump went rogue Wednesday, taking dead aim at radical Islamic terrorists and the violence they sow.”
Right-wing media reacted in disgust to the historic November 7 win by Danica Roem -- one of a number of openly transgender candidates, including Andrea Jenkins in Minnesota, to take races that day. Anti-LGBTQ websites The Federalist and LifeSite News joined a handful of white nationalists in attacking Roem, a transgender woman who is set to be the first openly transgender candidate elected and seated in a state legislature in U.S. history, after her win in Virginia. Right-wing figures called her "transgendered" and a man, compared her to a Nazi, and said her “claim to fame is transgenderism.”
What if Helen Rosner’s tweets about being an ally to women somehow destroy their centuries of privilege?
Writer Helen Rosner posted a list of suggestions for how men can support the women in their lives, “beyond just literally ceasing to sexually harass us,” on Twitter and Medium yesterday. Her suggestions included such theoretically uncontroversial arguments as: Trans women are women, supporting reproductive rights is good, and men ought to “cultivate genuine, intimate, nonsexual friendships with women.” For these sins -- for writing that men who want to be allies of women ought to adapt principles of basic human decency and learn about others’ experiences -- Rosner has drawn rebuke from a ragtag group of the internet’s finest aggrieved white men and their allies, who are now revealing their constant low-level rage and fear of somehow losing the privilege they’ve enjoyed throughout history.
To be sure, there are some valid and constructive criticisms of Rosner’s work -- it focuses mostly on strict gender categories of women and men, likely because the cultural conversation we’re having now about sexual violence is so inextricably rooted in misogyny. But this is not the criticism popping up in Rosner’s mentions. Instead, after making the humble argument that men who are asking specifically how they can do better can do the basic work of listening, learning, being kind, and asking more from their male friends, Rosner has been admonished by representatives of several uniquely grotesque anti-feminist subcultural groups. The sources of the criticism range from traditional right-wing bloggers to anonymous #MAGA and men’s rights trolls to straight-up white supremacists like David Duke.
That’s because the deeper, more enduring story stretches well beyond Rosner, her words, or even her specific, unfortunately typical, and hopefully fleeting online criticism. It reveals a disturbing pattern in which misogyny serves as a brutal, unifying force that spurs communities from across the spectrum of the right-wing internet to slam individuals they feel represent their enemies in a cultural war, in an attempt to silence them.
In different circumstances, the David Dukes and the Erick Ericksons across the right-wing internet might performatively disavow one another. But here on the online battlefield, their true motivation -- preservation of so-called traditional culture (read: specifically the white, heteropatriarchal nuclear family) -- is far too compelling to do anything but quite literally unite the right.
In traditional corners of the right-wing blogosphere, exemplified by pundits like Erick Erickson and blogs like RedState.com or TownHall.com, the reactionary defense of white heteropatriarchy looks like this: references to “family” values and religious freedom, flippant anti-gay and anti-trans statements, illogical economic arguments in favor of policies that happen to hurt the working poor, and generalized fearmongering about college campuses and immigration.
In the increasingly violent men’s rights movement, the strategy transforms into much more overt “antifeminist” views and the promotion of toxic hypermasculinity. And in the openly white nationalist online spaces -- where there is a significant and telling overlap with the men’s rights community -- the focus lies in fighting the decline of a superior “Western” culture, defending and promoting subservient, white womanhood, and securing a “future for white children.”
Online trolls seem to borrow indiscriminately from any and all of these related schools of thought, and then throw some truly incomprehensible messages and sometimes harassment into the mix for good measure.
Members of all these communities seemed to show up online to tell Rosner why her arguments were bad. Here are some other reactions she garnered on Twitter from this repulsive band of brothers and the women who support them in their warped crusade in the name of sweet, sweet heteropatriarchy. And these are just the verified users’ responses; click through Rosner’s mentions for more such commentary.
When your first point in telling men how to support "women" is to tell us some men are women, you're doing it wrong. https://t.co/53OqRfb4LK
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 17, 2017
If you're a man, you're wrong. Therefore you should restructure your politics to match this pompous left wing millennial blogger. https://t.co/J8N0PcAO4d
— Jim Jamitis (@anthropocon) October 16, 2017
Guys, we're not allowed to like what we like or we're bad or the feminists will be unhappy.
Leaving aside that feminists are always unhappy, any of you guys up to cede your preferences to a bunch of bitter gender studies grads?
Show of hands...
Helen, you're outvoted. https://t.co/AuEhEgctwP
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) October 16, 2017
If you're a woman unsure of what to do to avoid being pretentious, condescending, and utterly wrong, start by not saying any of this: https://t.co/JAycBMEiKK
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) October 16, 2017
The opposite is proactively choosing to sleep with men who don't make you want to murder your own offspring https://t.co/h8VK2IWdLj
— Amy (@AmyOtto8) October 17, 2017
The motivation to preserve a total monopoly on centuries-old power that’s not even being truly threatened is essentially a watered-down, unspoken (except for when it is actually spoken) version of the white supremacist 14 words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” To say that anything less extreme may be at play -- or that their rage is much more simply focused on a specific Medium post or Twitter thread or person (coincidentally, a woman) who dares to voice an opinion -- is to help trolls erase their real motives.
This war against difference and acceptance -- with the enemy labeled on any given day as feminists, libs, snowflakes, the radical left, paid protestors, PC bullies -- will continue to dictate internet rage so long as it remains a convenient unifying force for the right.
Hatred is timeless, and left unchecked it will drown out everything else from public conversation.
White nationalists applauded President Donald Trump for giving a press conference where he cast “blame on both sides” for an August 12 white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, VA, that culminated in a neo-Nazi plowing his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing activist Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
During his August 15 remarks from Trump Tower, Trump also blamed the “alt left” for violence and defended an earlier protest held the evening of August 11 where white nationalists carried torches while shouting racist and anti-Semitic chants.
David Duke -- a white nationalist radio host, noted anti-Semite, and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard -- wrote on Twitter, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa”:
Duke was an early Trump backer and has been a strong supporter of the president and his administration. In February 2016, Trump declined to denounce Duke after being pressed several times by CNN’s Jake Tapper during an appearance on State of the Union. In other instances, Trump has denounced Duke under pressure.
James Edwards, the host of white nationalist radio show The Political Cesspool, wrote, “Progress! @realDonaldTrump now puts #Charlottesville blame at the feet of 'Alt-Left' who came in 'without a permit'":
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Trump's response to Charlottesville is another wink and nod to white supremacists
White supremacists have been engaging in violent and racist protests this weekend in Charlottesville, VA. President Donald Trump responded to the violence by issuing a generic condemnation of problems "on many sides" and declining to specifically call out white supremacists. Trump's response fits a pattern: He has repeatedly enabled and emboldened the white nationalist movement and its racist media figures throughout his political rise.
White supremacists and “alt right” figures have been gathering in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally “to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.” The rally features white nationalist media figures such as Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch and was organized by racist writer Jason Kessler, who has written for The Daily Caller.
Former KKK leader David Duke, who is attending the protest, said today that the Charlottesville protests are an indication that “we are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”
Media Matters has documented how Trump has engaged in a disturbing courtship with the racist white nationalist movement and its media figures:
Since Trump was elected in November, white nationalists have cheered the president’s rhetoric and the administration’s moves on appointing Stephen Bannon to a senior position; making Jeff Sessions the attorney general; attempting to ban people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States; and many others. They have also praised White House adviser Stephen Miller for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer for his April comments about the Holocaust.
Trump today tweeted of Charlottesville:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Trump later gave a speech in New Jersey that addressed the protests and said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides." Numerous reporters and commenators criticized Trump for failing to actually call out white supremacism and speaking in generalities. They have also noted that Trump has helped enable the white nationalists in Charlottesville. Here is a sampling (Note: This section has been updated with additional tweets.):
To be clear: as a nazi rally turns deadly, the president devotes a few sentences to it, blaming "many sides," and then changes the topic.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) August 12, 2017
This is the same president who devoted so much time to lancing any political leader who wouldn't use the phrase "radical Islamic terror."
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) August 12, 2017
That was a truly pathetic presidential statement in the middle of a domestic emergency. No condemnation of white supremacist terror.
— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) August 12, 2017
Why won't the president say "white nationalsm" or "white supremacists"? https://t.co/NGskIMiiVs
— Nathan McDermott (@natemcdermott) August 12, 2017
Car plows through anti-racism protest. Trump's reax:
—Hatred is “on many sides.”
—Partly Obama’s fault.
—Great employment numbers right now.
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) August 12, 2017
Neither the president, nor the vice president, nor the attorney general saw fit to condemn anyone by name.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 12, 2017
Left POTUS' generic condemnation of Charlottesville.
Right POTUS' strong condemnation of sharks. pic.twitter.com/kwygnq1VPq
— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) August 12, 2017
it worked pic.twitter.com/ekSZnw6FCK
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 12, 2017
LOL. This is Trumpese for "Be Excellent to Each Other." Tells the story that he refuses to denounce these people. https://t.co/eJxC1zb10U
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 12, 2017
Trump put Bannon, Miller, & Gorka in the White House. They're calling out his name. Stop saying he bears no responsibility for this.
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) August 12, 2017
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) August 12, 2017
Trump, Bannon, Gorka, Miller emboldened these Nazis. Encouraged them. And Trump's "many sides" bullshit continues that. This is terrorism.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) August 12, 2017
Trump's refusal to condemn Nazis chanting his name shows how far flattery goes w/ him. In America you can be monsters if you praise Trump.
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) August 12, 2017
If you don't see the direct connection between Trump in the WH and Neo-nazis w/torches in the streets you are not paying attention.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 12, 2017
As you watch the violence play out today, remember Trump admin cut funding for research on white supremacist terrorist and extremist groups
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) August 12, 2017
Three days ago, a Trump aide was on Breitbart aggressively minimizing the problem of white supremacists: https://t.co/3mALnH4Wpt
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 12, 2017
Notice that Trump and Pence refuse to speak out against white supremacy and Neo Nazism. They won't be clear because that's their base.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 12, 2017
Trump has pandered to, winked at and energized white nationalists for the past two years https://t.co/xtu0JwhGZl
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) August 12, 2017
“He’s going to give us space to destroy."
- White supremacist radio host Michael Peniovich on Trump ignoring right-wing hate groups https://t.co/tSjNNHkKke
— Aaron Sankin (@ASankin) August 12, 2017
"Charlottesville sad" is the best Trump comes up with then white nationalists are empowered by and marching in his name. https://t.co/LbZXjxVdxJ
— Josh Hafner (@joshhafner) August 12, 2017
Notable: Trump didn't mention Charlottesville or any of the groups there by name. That tweet is pretty flexible, depending on who's reading
— Paige Lavender (@paigelav) August 12, 2017
Trump's deliberately vague, subjectless tweet accomplished its goal: to be so vague that it could seen by neo-Nazis as not condemning them. https://t.co/KG74Z1eTBy
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) August 12, 2017
— Mary Ormsby (@MaryOrmsby) August 12, 2017
Trump emboldened white nationalists; Charlottesville is no shock. He should be calling them out specifically, not making it “both sides." https://t.co/QdCxpC3V5l
— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) August 12, 2017
The following sections were originally published in August 2016 and have been reposted here in light of the Charlottesville protests.
Associated Press: “Experts Say White Supremacists See Trump As 'Last Stand.'” The Associated Press reported that “Trump and his campaign are expressing ideas similar to those espoused by white supremacists, legal, media and civil rights experts say. In addition, the experts said Wednesday, white supremacists are using the 2016 presidential elections to attempt to control the culture of politics.” From the piece:
Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, noted that Trump has retweeted posts from white supremacist accounts on Twitter.
Twitter is Trump's biggest microphone, and his rhetoric correlates with some of the beliefs of white supremacy organizations and communities, Carusone said.
Sophie Bjork-James, a Vanderbilt University lecturer and expert in white supremacist social movements, said white nationalists are attempting to increase their numbers through Trump's campaign. [The Associated Press, 8/11/16]
David Duke: “Voting Against Donald Trump At This Point Is Really Treason To Your Heritage.” David Duke is a white supremacist radio host and former Ku Klux Klan wizard. He is currently running for the U.S. Senate and cited Trump as an inspiration for his run. [BuzzFeed, 2/25/16; Media Matters, 3/1/16, 7/22/16]
“Pro-White” Radio Host James Edwards: "Trump Will Be The First Republican Nominee That I Have Ever Voted For." James Edwards is the host of the “pro-white” radio program The Political Cesspool. Edwards is a David Duke acolyte and he “has probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Edwards has written: “For blacks in the Americas, slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing that ever happened to white Americans”; “MLK's dream is our nightmare”; and “Interracial sex is white genocide.” [Media Matters, 7/24/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]
Hate Publication Leader Kevin MacDonald: "Trump Is Saying What White Americans Have Been Actually Thinking For A Very Long Time." The Southern Poverty Law Center described Kevin MacDonald as “the neo-Nazi movement's favorite academic” who “published a trilogy that supposedly ‘proves’ that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]
Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer: "Vote For The First Time In Our Lives For The One Man Who Actually Represents Our Interests." The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website headed by Andrew Anglin that has endorsed Trump and is enthusiastically supporting his campaign. The website regularly defends Adolf Hitler, attacks “kikes,” and has a section documenting the purported “Jewish Problem.” [Media Matters, 8/27/15]
Hate Group Leader Jared Taylor: "Trump May Be The Last Hope For A President Who Would Be Good For White People." The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that Taylor “is the founder of the New Century Foundation and edits its American Renaissance magazine, which, despite its pseudo-academic polish, regularly publishes proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black and anti-Latino racists. Taylor also hosts a conference every other year where racist intellectuals rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; Media Matters, 8/27/15]
Hate Group Leader Richard Spencer: “Trump Thinks Like Me. … Do You Think It's A Coincidence That Everybody Like Me Loves Trump And Supports Him?” Richard Spencer is the head of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. The Associated Press reported that Spencer “matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States” while at the Republican National Convention. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16; The Associated Press, 7/25/16]
Stormfront Founder Don Black: “We Are All Pulling For Him, Voting For Him If We Can.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that Black is a “former Klan state leader and long-time white supremacist” who created “Stormfront.org, the first major Internet hate site.” [BuzzFeed, 3/25/16; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 8/18/16]
White Nationalist Political Party Leader William Johnson: “I Urge You To Vote For Donald Trump.” William Daniel Johnson heads the American Freedom Party and “has called for a whites-only United States and the deportation of other races and ethnicities.” He also founded the pro-Trump group American National Super PAC, was initially selected as a Trump convention delegate, and issued pro-Trump robocalls in key primary states. [The Washington Post, 5/11/16; Talking Points Memo, 1/9/16]
Early In Primary Campaign, White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Stance On Immigration. Trump’s stance on immigration drew white nationalists to his campaign during the early months of the Republican primary. They said Trump was "doing the Lord's work," remarked that his plan was the "most explicit any presidential candidate has ever been," and said Trump could halt "the speed with which whites are reduced to a minority." [Media Matters, 8/27/15]
White Nationalist Media Backed Trump's Anti-Muslim Plan. White nationalists praised Trump’s plan "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." They called Trump's proposal "so wonderful" and "100% reasonable" because Muslims purportedly provide "absolutely nothing of value to this once-great nation." [Media Matters, 12/8/15]
Trump’s White Nationalist Backers Applauded His Racist Attacks On Federal Judge. White nationalists praised Trump’s racist attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel for purportedly being biased because “he’s a Mexican.” They called the judge a “terrorist spic,” claimed “Diversity is not strength, and it above all is not an impartial judiciary,” said the attacks against Trump are because of “Jewish manipulation,” and celebrated that Trump “is waking up” white Americans “from their collective hypnosis.” [Media Matters, 6/7/16]
White Nationalists Hailed Trump For “Stunning” Anti-Semitic Tweet. White nationalist leaders praised Trump for tweeting an anti-Semitic image attacking Hillary Clinton. They wrote that the tweet represented “dog-whistling by The Leader” about “filthy Jew terrorists,” proof that “Trump is not backing down,” and that it’s “Nice to see Mr. Trump slipping some 'Red Pills' to the American people.” [Media Matters, 7/5/16]
White Nationalists Praised Trump’s Convention. White nationalists praised Trump and the 2016 Republican National Convention. They celebrated that their tweets were featured in the convention hall, defended Melania Trump’s plagiarism from attacks by “the filthy Jews,” and hailed that the Republican Party “is becoming the de facto white party.” They also praised Trump’s convention speech, stating that they “couldn't have said it better” and “couldn’t be happier”; and said that Trump was focusing on the “negative effects” of immigration and using “codewords” that appeal to whites. [Media Matters, 7/20/16, 7/22/16]
White Nationalists Loved Trump’s Attacks Against Muslim-American Gold Star Parents. White nationalists praised Trump for his “rightful” attacks against Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Khizr Khan delivered a convention speech honoring son Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq, and criticizing Trump. White nationalists said that Trump’s anti-Muslim comments prove he’s “the real thing,” claimed the fallen soldier was a “terrorist” infiltrator, and called for the Khans to be deported. [Media Matters, 8/2/16]
White Nationalists Rejoiced At Trump’s Hiring Of Breitbart News Chief Stephen Bannon. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted that under Bannon, Breitbart.com “has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas.” The Daily Beast similarly wrote that “Bannon did a lot to normalize the racist, anti-Semitic world of the alt right.” VDare’s Peter Brimelow praised Bannon’s hiring in the Daily Beast, saying that “Breitbart emerged as a nationalist site and done great stuff on immigration in particular.” Richard Spencer also approved of the hiring, stating, “Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clearly influenced Breitbart.” The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin supported Bannon’s hiring, stating that “Breitbart has, over the last year, gone from Fox News-style cuckism to full-on Stormer-tier on most issues (not the Jews, of course).” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 4/28/16, Daily Beast, 8/17/16; Daily Stormer, 8/18/16]
White Nationalists Loved Trump’s “Nazi” Closing Ad Because It “Blasts” The “Evil Jews.” White nationalists praised Trump’s closing campaign ad, which was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, as “absolutely fantastic” because it shows that Jewish people are “eating away at the flesh of this once-great nation.” [Media Matters, 11/7/16]
White Nationalists Praised Mike Pence For Refusing To Call David Duke “Deplorable.” White nationalists praised Trump running mate Mike Pence for refusing to call David Duke “deplorable.” The racist media figures reacted by saying Pence is “a solid guy,” “It’s good to see,” and “Bravo!” [Media Matters, 9/13/16]
White Nationalists Cheered August Immigration Speech By Trump. On August 31, Trump delivered a speech about immigration in Arizona. The speech was hailed by white nationalists as a “Hell of a speech” and “excellent.” [Media Matters, 8/31/16]
White Nationalists Were Thrilled With Speech That Was Packed With Anti-Semitic Themes. Trump delivered an October speech in Florida that was heavily criticized for trafficking in anti-Semitic themes. White nationalists praised the contents of Trump’s “incredible” speech because it attacked “Jewish radicals” and managed “to channel Goebbels.” [Media Matters, 10/14/16]
White Nationalists Praised Donald Trump Jr. For Actions During Campaign. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. made a “gas chamber” reference, retweeted an anti-Semitic author, and compared Syrian refugees to Skittles. Trump Jr.’s actions endeared him to neo-Nazi websites, which have celebrated Trump's son for having “hit a nerve” with the “Jew Media” and for indicating that “a part of him has been with us since day one.” [Media Matters, 9/20/16]
Trump Has Repeatedly Retweeted White Supremacist Accounts. The New York Times wrote of Trump’s penchant for promoting white nationalists on Twitter:
But on the flatlands of social media, the border between Mr. Trump and white supremacists easily blurs. He has retweeted supportive messages from racist or nationalist Twitter accounts to his nine million followers. Last fall, he retweeted a graphic with fictitious crime statistics claiming that 81 percent of white homicide victims in 2015 were killed by blacks. (No such statistic was available for 2015 at the time; the actual figure for 2014 was 15 percent, according to the F.B.I.)
In January and February he retweeted messages from a user with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, whose profile picture is of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. A couple of days later, in quick succession, he retweeted two more accounts featuring white nationalist or Nazi themes. Mr. Trump deleted one of the retweets, but white supremacists saw more than a twitch of the thumb. “Our Glorious Leader and ULTIMATE SAVIOR has gone full wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters,” Mr. Anglin wrote on The Daily Stormer.
In fact, Mr. Trump’s Twitter presence is tightly interwoven with hordes of mostly anonymous accounts trafficking in racist and anti-Semitic attacks. When Little Bird, a social media data mining company, analyzed a week of Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity, it found that almost 30 percent of the accounts Mr. Trump retweeted in turn followed one or more of 50 popular self-identified white nationalist accounts. [The New York Times, 7/14/16]
Trump Repeatedly Refused To Denounce David Duke. Trump created an uproar when he repeatedly refused to disavow David Duke for supporting his campaign. Trump later bizarrely blamed a “bad earpiece” for failing to denounce Duke during the interview. [CNN.com, 2/29/16; Washington Examiner, 2/29/16]
Trump Refused To Denounce Neo-Nazi Supporters Who Threatened Reporter. During a May interview, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Trump if he would denounce anti-Semitic death threats against a reporter who wrote a profile of Melania Trump. Trump refused to condemn the threats, saying he was unaware of them and adding, “I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote a article that was inaccurate.” [Media Matters, 5/6/16]
Trump Selected White Nationalist Leader As Delegate. As Mother Jones noted, the Trump campaign selected “William Johnson, one of the country's most prominent white nationalists,” as a convention delegate from California. Johnson later resigned following criticism, and the Trump campaign blamed a "database error" on the selection. [Mother Jones, 5/10/16]
Trump Campaign Was Forced To Return Donation From Johnson. The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. [Media Matters, 3/11/16]
Trump Adviser And GOP Congressmen Gave Pro-Trump Interviews To White Nationalist Radio Host James Edwards At The RNC. Several members of Congress and Trump campaign official Gary Berntsen gave pro-Trump interviews to James Edwards and his “pro-white” radio show The Political Cesspool during the Republican National Convention. [Media Matters, 7/24/16]
Trump Campaign Gave Press Credentials To James Edwards. Trump's campaign gave press credentials to Edwards and The Political Cesspool to cover a Tennessee rally in February. [Media Matters, 3/1/16]
Donald Trump Jr. Gave Interview To James Edwards. Donald Trump Jr. gave an interview to white nationalist leader James Edwards. The interview aired on the Liberty RoundTable, which is hosted by Edwards’ syndicator and guest host Sam Bushman. Edwards appeared on the program as a guest and questioner. The Trump campaign later claimed they were not aware of Edwards’ views; Edwards hit back at the campaign by claiming that the interview happened because "a press agency that's scheduling interviews for" Trump Jr. reached out to him. [Media Matters, 3/3/16]
Trump’s Convention Displayed Tweets From White Nationalist Accounts. The Republican National Convention displayed tweets from white nationalist accounts on its ticker. The tweets came from the accounts “@Western_Triumph” and VDare.com. [Time, 7/22/16]
Trump Adviser Retweeted An Anti-Semitic Message. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is advising Trump’s campaign and was reportedly considered as a potential running mate, shared a tweet that read, "Not anymore, Jews. Not Anymore." Flynn later apologized, claiming it “was a mistake.” [CNN.com, 7/24/16]
Trump Surrogates Promoted Campaign In Interview With Neo-Nazi. Diamond and Silk, two YouTube personalities who serve as surrogates for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, promoted his candidacy in an interview with neo-Nazi and Trump supporter John Friend. Friend believes the Holocaust is "one of the most egregious and outrageous falsehoods ever perpetrated," "Jews Did 9/11," and Adolf Hitler was "the greatest thing that's happened to Western civilization." [Media Matters, 3/24/16]
Donald Trump Jr. Retweeted Anti-Semitic Author Kevin MacDonald. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency noted that Trump Jr. in August “retweeted an attack on Hillary Clinton by Kevin MacDonald, a psychologist notorious for his theories of Jewish manipulation and control. The Aug. 29 tweet itself had nothing to do with Jews or the theories that have made MacDonald popular among Holocaust deniers. In it, MacDonald referred to Clinton’s interactions as secretary of state with UBS, a Swiss bank that also has contributed to the Clinton Foundation.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 9/1/16]
Trump Senior Adviser Promoted Anti-Semitic Hate Site’s Trump Endorsement. A.J. Delgado, a senior campaign adviser, retweeted a Trump endorsement from anti-Semitic website The Right Stuff in October. The Right Stuff tweeted: “At this point anyone not insane enough to want a war with Russia should vote Trump.” The tweet prior to the message that Delgado retweeted was an anti-Semitic attack on Republican strategist Dan Senor. [Media Matters, 10/11/16]
Trump Campaign Has Accepted Donations From Prominent White Nationalist Leader William Johnson. The Trump campaign accepted a $250 donation in September 2015 from Johnson and returned it after Media Matters and People for the American Way criticized Trump. However, Johnson subsequently donated more money to the Trump campaign that reportedly has not been returned. The Daily Beast reported in October 2016:
According to FEC filings, Johnson contributed $1,000 on June 22, 2016 and an additional $500 on June 28. Both of these have yet to refunded according to the filings.
When asked about the contributions, Johnson told The Daily Beast he thought had given even more than the documented amount.
“I donated more than $1,500,” he said in an email. “I think I am near the max of $2,500. I paid by credit card and I don't keep my personal accounts, so I don’t know for sure, but I have given on many occasions.” [Media Matters, 3/11/16; The Daily Beast, 10/31/16]
Trump Campaign Accepted Donations From White Nationalist Leaders Michael Polignano And Peter Brimelow. Trump’s campaign accepted donations from Michael Polignano and Peter Brimelow, white nationalists who both manage virulently racist publications. Polignano is the managing editor and webmaster for Counter-Currents, a website and publishing company that publishes white nationalist and pro-Hitler material. Brimelow is the editor of VDare.com, a white nationalist and anti-immigrant website. [Media Matters, 9/14/16]
Politico: “White Supremacist Groups See Trump Bump.” Politico reported in December of Trump and white supremacists:
The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.
As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement.
“Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Stormfront founder Don Black, who reports additional listeners and call volume to his phone-in radio show, in addition to the site’s traffic bump. Black predicts that the white nationalist forces set in motion by Trump will be a legacy that outlives the businessman’s political career. “He’s certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.” [Politico, 12/10/15]
Politico: Experts Say “Trump Is Energizing Hate Groups And Creating An Atmosphere Likely To Lead To More Violence Against American Muslims.”
Meanwhile, analysts from the two leading organizations that track violence against minority groups say Trump is energizing hate groups and creating an atmosphere likely to lead to more violence against American Muslims.
According to experts at the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center who monitor hate groups and anti-Muslim sentiment, Trump’s call on Monday to halt the entrance of Muslims to the United States is driving online chatter among white supremacists and is likely to inspire violence against Muslims. [Politico, 12/10/15]
N.Y. Times: “Trump Has Galvanized The Otherwise Marginal World Of Avowed White Nationalists.” The New York Times wrote in July:
Some are elated by the turn. In making the explicit assertion of white identity and grievance more widespread, Mr. Trump has galvanized the otherwise marginal world of avowed white nationalists and self-described “race realists.” They hail him as a fellow traveler who has driven millions of white Americans toward an intuitive embrace of their ideals: that race should matter as much to white people as it does to everyone else. He has freed Americans, those activists say, to say what they really believe. [The New York Times, 7/13/16]
Wall Street Journal: “White Nationalists See Advancement Through Donald Trump’s Candidacy.” The Wall Street Journal reported in May:
White nationalists are hailing Donald Trump’s elevation to presumptive Republican presidential nominee, while also trying to boost their own political profiles and activity.
Although Mr. Trump has spurned these extreme groups’ support, the level of interest within them for the White House candidate rivals that for segregationist George Wallace, who won five states in the 1968 election, and for conservative Republican Pat Buchanan, who denounced multiculturalism in the 1990s.
Mr. Trump is being heralded by these groups for his proposals to bar Muslim immigrants, deport millions of people living illegally in the U.S., and build a wall along the southern border. [The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/16]
Daily News: “Trump’s Racist Rhetoric Emboldens White Supremacist Groups, Neo-Nazis Spouting Hate On The Internet.” New York Daily News reported in December that Trump’s “decision to push divisive rhetoric and policy has opened the door for an array of white supremacy groups, that suddenly feel emboldened and legitimized by Trump’s hateful bombast, to rejoin the national conversation.” [New York Daily News, 12/10/15]
Washington Post: “White Supremacist Movement Is Seizing On Donald Trump’s Appeal.” The Post reported:
Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Washington Post that the KKK, for one, has a new conversation starter at its disposal.
You might call it a “Trump card.”
It involves, say, walking into a coffee shop or sitting on a train while carrying a newspaper with a Donald Trump headline. The Republican presidential candidate, Pendergraft told The Post, has become a great outreach tool, providing separatists with an easy way to start a conversation about issues that are important to the dying white supremacist movement. [The Washington Post, 12/21/15]
Anti-Defamation League: “Trump’s Rhetoric Resonates With White Supremacists.” The New York Times wrote in July:
“Trump’s rhetoric resonates with white supremacists,” said Joanna Mendelson, an investigative researcher with the Center on Extremism, a branch of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
“They’ve been essentially energized about Trump’s candidacy, and they’ve been very vocal about their support of Trump and his policies on immigration and globalism,” Mendelson said.
In February, the ADL published a list of 10 prominent white supremacists who actively support Trump. Then, in April, it urged the candidate to drop the phrase “America First” as a campaign slogan, pointing out it had been used by Charles Lindbergh, a prominent Nazi sympathizer, in the 1940s. [The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, 6/2/16]
White Nationalists Are Using Trump’s Campaign For Fundraising. White nationalist websites like VDare.com and American Renaissance have been using Trump’s candidacy to raise money. Fundraising solicitations hail Trump for spurring "unprecedented interest in" white nationalism and putting their ideas "firmly in the mainstream." [Media Matters, 1/12/16]
Defend Europe, an anti-immigrant group that attempts to disrupt humanitarian search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, recently chartered a boat that was stopped in a Cyprus port, where several members were arrested for forging documents and engaging in potential human trafficking. Since then, pro-Trump media trolls associated with the campaign have been conspicuously silent.
The members were stopped in and deported from a sea port in the self-declared Turkish state of Northern Cyprus Thursday after spending two days in detention for document forgery and potential human trafficking of 20 Sri Lankan nationals who were aboard the C-Star, the campaign’s ship. Turkish Cypriot authorities deported nine crew members, including the ship’s captain and a German “second captain” believed to be neo-Nazi Alexander Schleyer. The authorities also transferred the director of the company that owns the ship, Sven Tomas Egerstrom, to Greek-controlled Cyprus for further questioning.
Refugee Rights Association advocate Faika Pasha told The Associated Press that some of the Sri Lankans on board reported having paid a trafficker to be taken to Italy and confirmed that five Sri Lankans remained in Cyprus to claim asylum. (Defend Europe claims the Sri Lankans were actually bribed by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to claim they were seeking asylum.)
Defend Europe is a campaign by anti-immigrant, “alt-right” activists to disrupt humanitarian search and rescue missions of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The effort is the brainchild of Generation Identity, a pan-European “Identitarian” movement known for its members’ high-profile political stunts.
Since the arrest and deportation of the C-Star’s crew members, Defend Europe has been doing some damage control on Twitter, claiming the ship was “released” and that “lies and #fakenews from NGOs have been exposed once again.” The next day, the account pinned an image of the group’s alleged goals on its feed, one of which was to “save migrants in danger of drowning and making sure they get to the nearest non-European safe port.”
However, Generation Identity’s Austrian co-founder, Martin Sellner, has repeatedly claimed that Defend Europe’s goal is to take migrants from North Africa back to Libya -- a violation of the non-refoulement principle of the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention against sending refugees back to their county if they would be in harm’s way. In June, Sellner said, “We want to face those human trafficking ships on the sea. We want to disrupt their doings. And, of course, if you meet an account of people in distress on the sea, save them but bring them back to where they started from.” He reiterated his stance a month later, saying that Defend Europe will “do everything in our power to make sure that they go back to Africa, where they belong.”
Since the detainment of Defend Europe members and their subsequent expulsion from Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, the movement’s right-wing media allies and pro-Trump trolls have been noticeably mum. As of this piece’s publication, Brittany Pettibone, who has actively been reporting in support of Defend Europe from Catania, Sicily, had tweeted only twice on the subject since the incident, both times promoting Defend Europe’s conspiratorial narrative that NGOs are propagating fake news and “hiding something” about their alleged collusion with international human trafficking rings.
Even more notably, Lauren Southern, a Canadian media troll who made a name for herself denying the existence of rape culture and demonizing minorities and who has been actively involved in the Defend Europe campaign, has not tweeted a single time about the recent incident (though she has retweeted in support of Defend Europe). Online payment service Patreon recently suspended Southern’s account for violating the crowdfunding platform's terms by soliciting donations for the Defend Europe campaign; Southern has since resorted to using PayPal. PayPal previously froze Defend Europe's account, saying in a statement, “Our policy is to prevent our services being used by companies whose activities promote hatred, violence or racial intolerance."
Peter Sweden, a previously vocal Holocaust denier who reversed himself in mid-July, has been similarly silent on the recent controversy surrounding Defend Europe. Sweden has bragged about disrupting search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean and has also been interviewed by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, taking the opportunity to fearmonger about crime in Sweden.
Katie Hopkins, a columnist for British news site MailOnline who regularly appears on Fox News to voice her Islamophobic, anti-immigrant views, has also been silent on Twitter about the C-Star’s deportation from Cyprus. Hopkins recently tweeted a photo of herself with Sweden, which she later deleted. Her involvement with the Defend Europe campaign has been documented by the anti-extremism research and education group HOPE Not Hate.
Tara McCarthy, who hosts a YouTube show alongside Pettibone and who has said, in a since-deleted tweet, that she hopes “zero” migrants crossing the sea to Europe “make it alive,” has also not commented on the C-Star’s seizure.
According to HOPE Not Hate, pro-Trump propaganda outlet Breitbart, white nationalist site AltRight.com, racial nationalist organization American Renaissance, Nazi website The Daily Stormer, and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke have also voiced support for Defend Europe’s mission. As of noon on July 28, none of these outlets or individuals had responded to the latest developments.
The silence of these pro-Trump trolls exposes their opportunism and cowardice. They engage in high-profile stunts to profit and promote themselves and then back away when the going gets tough, as prominent troll Mike Cernovich did when he attempted to deny involvement in the “Pizzagate” conspiracy. The pro-Trump trolls subscribed to the Defend Europe campaign for donations and foreign Twitter followers, but now they’re stuck in a sordid relationship with a movement that is endangering innocent lives and potentially violating international law. It remains to be seen how they will meme their way out of this one.