A Donald Trump supporter has been accused of flashing a “white power” sign at the president’s rally in Florida on Friday. The alleged incident took place just a day after he was accused of racism by Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
As The Independent reported, a person who was sitting behind the president while he spoke flashed what the outlet noted was a “white power hand sign” that could be seen by cameras. The rally took place at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community that had already been the site of a controversial incident among Trump supporters.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump took to Twitter in June to share video of a golf cart parade of his backers that traveled through the community. In the clip that he shared, an argument could be heard between Trump supporters and others in attendance, and a man supporting the president was heard shouting “White power!”
The alleged hand signal has itself been a point of some controversy. It is fashioned after the “OK” symbol with the thumb and forefinger forming a circle. According to The Inquisitr, it originally gained popularity online as something of a prank meant to trick people into believing that what had been a mundane gesture could be seen as racist. However, it has since been adopted — often enthusiastically — by a number of white supremacist groups.
Trump faced sharp criticism for sharing the clip, which was later deleted. As The Independent noted, there was no indication that Trump was aware of the alleged symbol flashed behind him at Friday’s event, and his campaign did not immediately respond to a request from the newspaper for a comment.
Check out the guy in the sunglasses making the white power hand gesture behind Trump during his rally in The Villages, Florida pic.twitter.com/ubHOPFRe9h
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 23, 2020
The gesture is sometimes made covertly, though the person at Friday’s rally lifted an arm in the air to make it more visible, and kept it there for an extended period. Video of the exchange quickly went viral online, with many sharing it on Twitter and condemning the incident.
The controversy took place close to a day after Trump and Biden met in the final debate of the campaign — an event in which the Democratic candidate accused his opponent of making specific appeals to racism.
“Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire — every single one,” Biden said.
Trump denied the charge of racism, as he has continually done when critics raise the issue.