A Ku Klux Klan leader who threatened to “burn” a black journalist in a viral video says his hate group has grown faster than he can remember since President Donald Trump’s election.
Chris Barker, “imperial wizard” of the Loyal White Knights of the KKK in North Carolina, boasted that he’s received up to 80 applications a day since his group took part in this month’s Charlottesville march, reported The Independent.
“A lot of white people were proud to see their people standing up for their own kind,” Barker said. “To me, this gave whites more hope.”
Barker claims his group currently has about 200 members, but is still one of the most active Klan groups in the U.S.
He said KKK membership started growing under President Barack Obama and had “skyrocketed” since Trump’s election.
“This right here has made it where [white people] feel like, ‘Yes we can say it, and yes we will say it’,” Barker said. “And if somebody wants to say something back, we will strike back.”
“You can’t push a dog in a corner for so long – he’s going to lunge out at you,” he added.
But one researcher who tracks hate groups scoffed at Barker’s claims, saying his reputation had actually cost his group some of its members.
“We will have to wait and see the effect of Charlottesville on the white supremacist movement,” said Carla Hill, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League. “Many extremists view it as a huge success, (but) others may be turned off by the backlash directed toward those who have been identified as attendees.”
Barker made international news earlier this week when his interview with Univision journalist, Ilia Calderón, went viral.
The KKK leader called Calderón, who is Colombian and black, a racial slur and then compared Trump’s promise to deport millions of immigrants to the Holocaust.
“We killed six million Jews the last time,” Barker said. “Eleven million is nothing.”