Twitter-users were shocked today when Donald Trump retweeted a post from the account @WhiteGenocideTM.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
While the content of the tweet itself is not racist — it is a photoshopped image mocking Jeb Bush — many wondered why Trump would be so careless, or so nefarious, as to link himself with a self-professed racist.
Recent tweets and retweets from the @WhiteGenocideTM account include anti-Semitic imagery, quotes from Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, instances of Holocaust denial, and tweets deriding Martin Luther King Jr. The profile also lists a link to a website promoting a biographical documentary of Adolf Hitler.
MSNBC soon published a piece about how Trump promoted “a neo-Nazi supporter.” Indeed, @WhiteGenocideTM’s Twitter profile page does not reflect something a presidential hopeful would want to be associated with. The profile picture is an image of the founder of the American Nazi Party, a man named George Lincoln Rockwell. Trump’s anti-semitic Twitter friend bitterly lists his location as “Jewmerica.”
The account also features a banner image that reads: “GET THE F— OUT OF MY COUNTRY,” and the Tweeter’s timeline shows that he/she is a fan of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, as well as a vehement holocaust denier, and a critic of Martin Luther King Jr (King is mocked in a number of Tweets.)
Donald Trump retweeted a white supremacist today. https://t.co/lW23Vg6j7H
— Complex (@ComplexMag) January 23, 2016
The Washington Post notes that Trump has come under fire before for appearing to promote racist ideas using his Twitter profile.
“This is not the first time Mr. Trump has retweeted something linked to neo-Nazism.”
In November last year, Trump retweeted a graphic about U.S. crime statistics that claimed that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by black people. An NY Daily News fact-checker analyzed statistics from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and found that this is false — 82 percent of white people murdered in 2014 were killed by other whites.
It appears Trump sourced that graphic from another one of his racist Twitter acquaintances — it was apparently first posted on Twitter by a user whose avatar was a swastika.
Donald Trump is a Michael Bay movie running for President
— Jake Weisman (@weismanjake) January 23, 2016
Trump defended himself saying “it was just a retweet.” He spoke to Bill O’Really about the controversial graphic.
O’Reilly: This bothered me, I gotta tell ya. You tweeted out that whites killed by blacks — these are statistics you picked out from somewhere — at a rate of 81 percent. And that’s totally wrong. Whites killed by blacks is 15 percent, yet you tweeted it was 81 percent. Now …
Trump: Bill, I didn’t tweet, I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert, and it was also a radio show.
O’Reilly: Yeah, but you don’t wanna be. … Why do you want to be in that zone?
Trump: Hey, Bill, Bill, am I gonna check every statistic? I get millions and millions of people, @RealDonaldTrump, by the way.
O’Reilly: You gotta, you’re a presidential contender, you gotta check ’em.
Trump: I have millions of people. You know what? Fine. But this came out of radio shows and everything else.
O’Reilly: Oh, come on, radio shows?
Trump: Excuse me. All it was, was a retweet.
Trump has a point that retweets are often done spontaneously, with the retweet given because the person agrees with the content of that particular tweet, or just finds it interesting. In no way does a retweet imply that you agree with everything on the source’s timeline, and it definitely doesn’t imply that you are friends, that you share their values, or even that you have looked at their page.
Supporters of Trump could ague that this retweet is another example of how refreshing and establishment-shattering Trump’s candidacy has been. Trump speaks off-the-cuff and acts with spontaneity — he is not afraid to speculate, make outlandish statements, take risks or look a fool, and many Americans appear to love him for it.
Love him or hate him, the ex-reality star has demonstrated that a candidate can run a high-polling, attention-grabbing campaign without having to read from a script, and without engaging a team of consultants before he’ll dare to utter a word in public.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 22, 2016
On the other hand, it is the real estate mogul’s responsibility to check facts before he tweets them to his large following. The Washington Post slammed Trump in the headline they ran about the racial statistic story: “Donald Trump actually admitted that he doesn’t check his facts. Seriously.”
In the @WhiteGenocideTM case, one could argue that Trump ought to have noted the racist-sounding name of the person he was retweeting.
Could it be that Trump did notice, and sent it anyway? Could headline-grabbing Trump be as impressed as the rest of us with how well his campaign has gone, and keen to get America talking about him with yet another racism scandal?
It's news when Donald Trump retweets racists because usually a racist only writes his tweets.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) January 22, 2016
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) January 23, 2016
Will Donald Trump be the Republican candidate?
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]