This, from a New York Times account on the pro-Donald Trump gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Washington D.C. over the past weekend, is not normal:
By the time Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement and the final speaker of the night, rose to address a gathering of his followers on Saturday, the crowd was restless.
In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.
An image from the event featured two attendees, as well as former reality star and self-professed Hitler-lover Tila Tequila, making a Sieg Heil salute.
Seig heil! ✋ pic.twitter.com/FhuFuZq6Sc
— Tila Tequila (@AngelTilaLove) November 19, 2016
Speakers at the event, organized by white supremacist group National Policy Institute, “heaped praise on the work of Trump’s chief strategist, Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon, and on his other appointees to senior roles in the administration,” noted TPM.
Spencer, the group’s president and a self-described member of the Alt-Right, “ranted about the mainstream media and asked the audience if they should be referred to ‘in the original German,’ according to the Times. The audience screamed back, ‘Lügenpresse,’ a Nazi-era word that means ‘lying press.'”
Spencer, dangerously referred to by Mother Jones as “dapper” in a now-deleted tweet, was one of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi accounts to be suspended by Twitter recently for their offensive tweets. Meanwhile, the LA Times profile on Spencer — who has advocated for an “Aryan motherland” and called Martin Luther King Jr. a “fraud and degenerate” — featured a glamour shot of him in a pair of Ray Bans, looking more like an actor than a white supremacist.
More on the evening from the NYT:
Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”
The United States today, Mr. Spencer said, had been turned into “a sick, corrupted society.”
But it was not supposed to be that way.
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”
“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.
Make no mistake — nothing about this is normal, and it’s something we have to keep repeating. The danger here is treating this sort of gathering as some sort of outlier, because the reality here is that President-elect Donald Trump has himself invited members of this movement — including former Breitbart head and new top aide Steve Bannon — straight into his Administration.