This we already know: Donald Trump is racist and a friend to white nationalists. Since Charlottesville, he’s been using talk of “taking away culture” to justify keeping Confederate monuments in place as well as to rile up his base of white people who feel marginalized in an America that is becoming browner. The coded language and racial dog whistles of the Southern Strategy that Republicans have been using for decades are no longer subtle or coded. This politician is openly using the same language white supremacists use to recruit members and former skinheads confirm this.
During his rambling rally this week in Phoenix, Arizona, President Donald Trump scoffed at the idea that anyone would label him a racist for his ever-evolving response to the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. All he wanted to do, he told a crowd of his supporters, was address his concern that an undefined “they” were attempting “to take away our history and our heritage.”
That language merely puts a presentable face on the racism that left counter-protesters bloodied on the streets of Charlottesville, according to former skinheads and law enforcement who’ve worked with them. Those individuals told TPM that Trump’s comments used the same rhetorical lures that white supremacists and other hate groups rely on to hook new members.
No one should be surprised at this. But it is interesting to hear them confirm that this is familiar language. It also confirms that Trump really does have more in common with Hitler than many would like to believe. Hitler also used nationalism and fascism to persuade and motivate people. Trump may be a fan of Hitler. His staff certainly seems to be. At the very least, he appears to borrow from him in his own speeches.
Throughout Trump’s presidential campaign last year, he was dogged by rumors that he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches on his bedside table. Several of his appointees have links to far-right, neo-Nazi organizations. He has, time and again, retweeted white-nationalist and fascist tweets. He struggled to disavow support from arch-racist and former KKK leader David Duke. [...]
On June 1, 2017, Donald Trump announced that he was pulling America out of the Paris climate accord. “At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won’t be. They won’t be.”
It’s not a direct quote from Hitler, but it’s perilously close.
This is exactly why Trump should have never been allowed anywhere near the White House. When white supremacists see you as their savior and say they are acting in your name and former skinheads say they see their movement in you, your are not a decent human being—least of all one who should be governing. And it doesn’t matter if you pretend to disavow them, they know you are talking to them. They hear the call and they act on it—violently.
“The most effective tactics for white nationalists are to associate American history with themselves and to suggest that the collective efforts to turn away from our white supremacist past are the same as abandoning American culture.”
It’s vitally important we don’t dismiss this as thoughts and behavior belonging to people on the fringe of society. These beliefs are way more common than we want to admit. Michael German, a former FBI agent who worked undercover with Neo-Nazi groups said: “I tend to believe that these are feelings that a sizable segment of the population holds and is reluctant to express, because they know its not social acceptable to say these things.” Millions of people voted for Trump and still support him. They might not all be members of white nationalist organizations but this language is appealing to them. Its activating many of them. At the very least, its not turning them off. When skinheads and law enforcement say that in 2017 the U.S. President is basically recruiting members to violent far-right groups and white nationalism, we better listen.
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