WASHINGTON – The racism and anti-Semitism of the alt-right movement were on display Saturday in Washington when its members gathered to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory.
The president of the alt-right National Policy Institute Richard Spencer’s remarks were posted Sunday on YouTube by “Red Ice Radio,” which describes itself as “covering politics and social issues from a pro-European perspective.” The Atlantic magazine, which is recording footage of Spencer for a documentary they’re working on, also published a video of the same event showing audience members apparently giving the Nazi salute.
“Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” he declared.
His remarks were filled with racist imagery — including references to “the black political machines” and Latino housekeepers — as he bashed Hillary Clinton’s minority supporters.
“Her coalition was made up of mutually hostile tribes only united out of a hatred of ‘whitey’ — that is to say, out of a hatred of us,” Spencer said.
He added that “there are no two parts of this coalition who could ever be in the same room together for any length of time.”
“America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us,” Spencer said.
The event was held at the Northwest Washington restaurant Maggiano’s which issued an apology Monday and told CNN that it would donate $10,000 to the D.C. office of the Anti-Defamation League. In a statement, the restaurant’s management said the booking was made last minute Friday and under a different name than the organization.
Trump’s transition team responded in a statement Monday saying Trump has “continued to denounce racism.”
“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American,” Trump-Pence Transition spokesman Bryan Lanza said in a statement. “To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”
His comments came as Trump is under fire for tapping Steve Bannon, who was until recently the head of the alt-right Breitbart News, as his chief White House strategist, a position that does not require Senate approval. Bannon has said he rejects the racist and anti-Semitic elements of the alt-right and described himself as an “economic nationalist.”
Spencer bashed journalists covering the 2016 presidential election, too.
“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” Spencer said in a reference to a Jewish fable in a portion of his speech dedicated to criticizing both the media and Jews.
He also used a Nazi-era propaganda term meaning “lying press” to describe reporters, citing “the mainstream media — or perhaps we should refer to them in the original German, lugenpresse.”
And he tempered his praise the Republican President-elect.
Even Trump, Spencer warned the white supremacist audience, has taken positions that are in his view too friendly to minorities and Jewish people.
He said Trump has supported affirmative action and opposed segregated establishments. On immigration, Spencer said, Trump “left the door open to some kind of mass amnesty at a future date, talking about keeping the ‘good ones’ in the country.” And, he said, Trump “will be perhaps the most pro-Zionist president ever put in office,” citing his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, “which we should admit wasn’t actually that bad.”
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum put out a statement on the dinner saying it was “deeply alarmed” by the gathering “just blocks from the Museum.”
“The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.”
By Eric Bradner, CNN