- Jim Bourg/Reuters
Alt-right leader Richard Spencer told reporters from his “office” on Monday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump condemned his movement when he denounced neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and white supremacists.
“His statement today was more kumbaya nonsense,” said Spencer, who attended and was slated to speak at the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. “Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously.”
Trump said on Monday that “racism is evil” and denounced “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Spencer, however, insisted that the president had not denounced white nationalists or the “alt-right” movement he founded several years ago.
“I don’t think he condemned it, no,” Spencer said. “Did he say ‘white nationalist?’ ‘Racist’ means an irrational hatred of people. I don’t think he meant any of us.'”
Asked whether he considers Trump an ally, Spencer replied that while he didn’t think of Trump as “alt-right,” he considers the president to be “the first true authentic nationalist in my lifetime.”
“Obviously the alt-right has come very far in the past two years in terms of public exposure,” Spencer said. “Is Donald Trump one of the major causes of that? Of course. He never talked about this conservative garbage we’ve been hearing for years…he was a nationalist.”
Spencer said that two of Trump’s top advisers, former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon and speechwriter Stephen Miller, were “connected to the alt-right” in a way that others in the White House are not. But he said Trump’s remarks sounded like “a Sunday school statement” and promised that the alt-right would not just be “cheerleaders” for the president.
He also refused to condemn the alleged neo-Nazi who was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of running over a 32-year-old counter protester.
“There’s a distinction that should be made between murder and manslaughter,” Spencer said. He added that the suspect, James Alex Fields, “could have truly feared for his life.” But he said violence is “counterproductive to the movement.”
White nationalists and neo-Nazis celebrated Trump’s initial remarks about the protests in Charlottesville on Saturday, in which he denounced violence “on all sides,” rather than explicitly condemning white supremacism.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said at a press conference. “On many sides.”
The founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that considers itself a part of the alt-right, celebratedthe fact that Trump “outright refused to disavow” the white nationalist rally and movement.
“People saying he cucked are shills and kikes,” wrote the founder, Andrew Anglin. “He did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room.”