KKK Recruitment Growing Under Trump Presidency, And It’s Terrifying

KKK, or Ku Klux Klan, members say that now Trump is President, their recruitment is growing.

International Business Times reported that building a border wall, ending illegal immigration, and preventing terrorists coming into the United States are just some of the items on the KU Klux Klan’s own checklist for making America great again. Their leader, Will Quigg, believes America was founded to be free, white, and Christian, and he believes that Trump’s promises to prevent “illegal aliens” coming into the United States and to grow the economy are the same visions that the KKK has for America.

And Quigg isn’t the only KKK member excited about having a Trump administration. The Grand Dragon and King Keagle of the Loyal White Knights’ West Coast chapter of the KKK said that every day he sees how Trump’s rhetoric of “making America great again” resonates with people who either want to join the Klan or who have recently been recruited by the Klan.

“We’ve seen a rise in [Klan] membership in the last two years, well, ever since Trump put in his dollar to get into the race. And especially every time he would say something that was not socially acceptable on a mainstream level.”

The number of Klan groups has risen from 72 in the year 2004 to 190 in 2015. It seems that Trump’s promises of a “ban on Muslims” and “building a wall” has given Klan leaders an incentive to recruit and prospective Klan members an incentive to join.

While mainstream America has not appreciated many of Trump’s controversial comments on terrorism and immigration, swing state voters approved of his campaign, which ultimately put him in the White House. Hate groups, like the KKK, took note. Klan leader Quigg said the election result proved that there are both white Americans and non-white Americans who are tired of the situation in America today.

Robert Jones is the Grand Dragon of the KKK hate group based in North Carolina, and he said their national recruitment drive was designed to offer people an alternative voice at a time when Confederate flags are being removed from state houses.

“We’re doing this from the East Coast to the West Coast, just to let people know the Klan’s in their community.”

In the 1920s, KKK membership peaked with almost 4 million members, and today there are approximately 8,000 members across the United States. The Klan was notorious for white nationalist ideology and its violent attacks, including lynching black people. Fortunately, lynching and public rallies are no longer the norm.

Originally, the Ku Klux Klan was based in the south of America where they targeted people set free in 1865 after the American Civil War, meaning African-Americans; and these people and their families were terrorized by the Klan because the Klan did not consider the former slaves to be free.

The KKK was designed to spread fear through the black population still residing in the southern states. Only White Anglo-Saxon Protestants could belong to the KKK, and it wasn’t only blacks that were targeted by the hate group: Catholics, Jews, liberals; were all hated, but black families in the South were victimized the most, perhaps because at the time they were more vulnerable to attack.

In the past, members were found through recruitment drives, but today the KKK is recruiting members online. Apparently, the paperwork is not as important as members adopting the KKK’s rhetoric and their messages. Ryan Lenz is a senior writer for the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and he refers to the Klan as “the most infamous and oldest of American hate groups.”

Trump’s vows simply echo similar visions of the Klan, like deporting undocumented immigrants, implementing a Muslim registry, strong policy, and racial profiling to combat terrorism. Lenz said that the recent riots in Missouri, Ferguson, and Baltimore, over police brutality and the death of black suspects have simply helped the Klan re-emerge from the shadows and rebuild their organization.

Bradley Jenkins, a third-generation Klansmen, is an Imperial Wizard with United Klans of America. He stated that the Klan’s recent outreach targeted what used to be called middle-class; also saying that, even though his group was once deemed to be one of the most violent KKK organizations in America, it’s no longer committed to killing black people.

“We all know what the past reads: the past reads violence, the past reads bombs, bullets and bricks. That was a different era. These days, people join the Klan not because they are racist or supremacists, but because they want to help other white people. You have people out here that join organizations like this only because they have hate in their heart – we don’t tolerate those. We don’t recruit on somebody’s bias, we recruit if they want to help. We don’t consider ourselves supremacists, we consider ourselves separatists.”

Jenkins openly admits that he’s a Trump supporter, saying he sees the new President as a strong leader for the future of the nation, and the Klan.

Scene News reported that the KKK is looking to expand in Ohio. Since Trump became President, the KKK has increased its profile, cheering Trump on from the sidelines. And, it turns out that the Klan is planning a membership push in Ohio.

Amanda Lee is the National Imperial Commander for the Klan faction known as the Loyal White Knights.

“We have people all over Ohio already. There is a large membership of Loyal White Knights there. When things start going wrong, it’s time for us to start retaliating. It’s time for us to get active.”

[Featured Image containing photos by Bob Jordan, John Bazemore, Ron Sachs/AP Images]

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