A few short years ago, Donald Trump was known only as an American business magnate, a real-life yet somehow cartoonish approximation of Gordon Gekko, mostly known for starring on NBC’s The Apprentice and unsuccessfully attempting to patent the phrase, “you’re fired.”
But now, speak the name “Trump” and a whole different set of ideas come to mind, as these days the highly controversial Republican presidential candidate is known more for his populist right-wing policies and many controversial remarks, most infamously about building a wall separating the United States and Mexico and banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. It seems not everyone finds these ideas ugly, however.
An article appeared in the Washington Post today quoting Rachel Pendergraft, the national spokesman for the Knights Party, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan, as saying that the KKK is using support for Donald Trump as part of an outreach effort for recruitment.
“One of the things that our organization really stresses with our membership is we want them to educate themselves on issues, but we also want them to be able to learn how to open up a conversation with other people,” Pendergraft said.
She went on to detail how Trump’s campaign has also breathed new life into the organization and the white nationalist neo-Nazi movement at large, saying it has “electrified” members.
“They like the overall momentum of his rallies and his campaign,” Pendergraft said. “They like that he’s not willing to back down. He says what he believes and he stands on that.”
Former KKK leader David Duke, perhaps the most recognizable figure on the American far-right, has also spoken fondly of Trump’s campaign, remarking to CNN that he is “certainly the best of the lot” in between rants about Jewish conspiracies and alleged Jewish control of the media, calling the Trump campaign “a great thing.” He stressed that Trump remained untrustworthy in his eyes due to his “deep Jewish connections” and support for Israel, though according to the Telegraph, in his radio show, Duke also said Trump was being “attacked” by the Jews. The Trump campaign declined to comment.
According to Politico, the white supremacist internet forum Stormfront had to upgrade its servers after a spike in traffic because of the Trump phenomenon.
The Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group and as reported by the Inquisitr, the inspiration for Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, have continuously put out pro-Trump articles on their site.
Jared Taylor, who runs the website American Renaissance and founded the far-right New Century Foundation, has called Trump the “best presidential candidate” and the “last chance” for white nationalists. His website also argues as part of its platform that “One of the most destructive myths of modern times is that people of all races have the same average intelligence.”
“I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit,” Taylor said to the New Yorker.
Peter Brimelow, founder of the extremist anti-immigration website VDare.com, told BuzzFeed News that Trump’s views on immigration were “stunning.”
John Derbyshire, a British-American journalist whose writings on race got him fired from the National Review, as reported by the SPLC, posted to his own website that Trump was doing “the Lord’s work.”
The SPLC also reported that James Edwards, host of the racist, anti-Semitic radio show the Political Cesspool, which frequently features white nationalists and Holocaust deniers as guests, stated “I’m in with Trump for now.”
The Huffington Post covered a story where the Daily Stormer, the leading neo-Nazi website, endorsed Trump on June 28.
Richard Spencer, executive director of the National Policy Institute (NPI), was also reported by the New Yorker as speaking positively about the Trump campaign for President. The NPI promotes white nationalism under the slogan, “heritage, identity, and future of European people.”
Spender also said in his podcast that Trump’s passion “inspired” him.
Other nasty characters of the far-right the Trump campaign has attracted include Michael Hill, head of the League of the South, a white supremacist and neo-Confederate organization that supports the politics of southern secession.
“I love to see somebody like Donald Trump come along. Not that I believe anything that he says. But he is stirring up chaos in the GOP, and for us that is good,” Hill said to the Telegraph.
Brad Griffin, another member of the League of the South and author of the white supremacist blog Hunter Wallace, has said his esteem for Trump is “soaring,” and that he hopes Trump will launch a “hostile takeover” of the Republican Party.
Donald Trump has been the consistent GOP front-runner since his presidential campaign was announced. But it seems the ideas he espouses have attracted a “who’s who” of American Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists.
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