President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday, in his strongest words yet on the subject, condemned and disavowed the support of white supremacists and hate groups cheering his candidacy and celebrating his presidency. But to those whom he condemned, Trump’s words were just that.
“I obviously would have preferred he not condemn, but I’m not going to read too much into that. It is what it is just words,” wrote Andrew Anglin, founder of the popular neo-Nazi “Daily Stormer” website, in a post Tuesday. “As long as he does what he says he’s going to do, he can condemn whatever he wants and I’ll still support him 100%.”
In a separate post earlier this year on “Daily Stormer,” which is named after the notorious Nazi publication “Der Strmer” and billed as “America’s #1 Most-Trusted Republican News Source,” Anglin wrote: “Jews, Blacks and lesbians will be leaving America if Trump gets elected and he’s happy about it. This alone is enough reason to put your entire heart and soul into supporting this man.”
During a Q&A with New York Times reporters and columnists at The Times’ headquarters on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he feels he energized by the alt-right movement, a catch-all term for white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
“It’s not a group I want to energize. And if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why,” Trump responded. “I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn.”
Trump also denounced a white nationalist conference held in Washington over the weekend organized by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and leading figure in the alt-right, who is said to have coined the term. Spencer delivered a racist, anti-Semitic, hate-filled speech that ended with him enthusiastically declaring, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” and attendees responding by giving Nazi salutes and yelling, “Hail Trump!”
Anglin, in his “Daily Stormer” post, said Trump’s condemnation was expected due to pressure from the media establishment.
“As far as Trump condemning Spencer I mean, they were throwing up Roman salutes at this conference. I don’t know how you can really expect Trump at least at this point to endorse that,” Anglin wrote. “He tried not to condemn David Duke, and then eventually had to. And David Duke isn’t sieg heiling anyone.” Anglin ended his post with “Heil Trump!” using the German spelling.
For his part, Duke, a former KKK leader, responded to Trump’s remarks with a tweet calling for a roundtable meeting between Trump and prominent white nationalists so he can “find out why” they have been “energized” by his election.
Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign resonated with many of the ideologies held by white nationalists, racists and xenophobes. That support became more solidified when Trump named Steve Bannon the Breitbart chairman credited with making the conservative website more openly racist and anti-Semitic and, in Bannon’s words, “the platform for the alt-right” as CEO of his campaign and now one of his top two advisers in the White House.
Over the weekend, former Vermont governor and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called Bannon a “Nazi,” adding, “It’s a big word and I don’t usually use it unless somebody’s really anti-Semitic and really misogynist and really anti-Black.”
In his Times interview on Tuesday Trump defended Bannon. “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist or alt-right, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”
Trump also defended Breitbart, saying the website was no different than The New York Times, only “much more conservative.”