Donald Trump’s “basket of deplorables” includes white nationalists who are eager to ride the Republican presidential nominee’s coattails into the political mainstream.
Three of those notorious racists held a press conference the same day Hillary Clinton described them and half of Trump’s other supporters as deserving of strong condemnation, and a couple of weeks after she denounced the “alt-right” in a speech.
The event was held Sept. 9 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the originator of the alt-right movement and two longtime white nationalists introduced themselves to the media.
“We have not been made by Trump, but we want to make Trump, and we want to imagine him in our image,” said Richard Spencer, the hipster-coifed racist who coined the term “alt-right” to describe white supremacists who are as comfortable bullying people online as they are ganging up on them in real life.
“It’s about, in a way, projecting onto him our hopes and dreams,” said Spencer, director of the innocuously named National Policy Institute.
They’ve accomplished that, in many respects.
Trump recently hired as his campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News — the pro-Trump propaganda outlet that has adopted the alt-right’s tone and tactics.
Spencer organized the event, and he was joined by veteran white nationalists Jared Taylor, publisher of the American Renaissance website, and Peter Brimelow, founder of the virulently anti-immigrant website VDare.com.
They encouraged other racists to act more professionally and to better fund white nationalist organizations so they can slip more comfortably into the mainstream.
“We’re not just some marginal movement that you could dismiss,” Spencer said. “The fact is our ideas are so powerful that despite the fact that we’re doing all this on a shoe-string, we’re getting at people. We’re affecting them. They know we’re right.”
Watch portions of the event posted online by Media Matters: