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Legal, Civil Rights, and Media Experts Analyze Implications of White Supremacist Support for Trump

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A Recording of Today’s Call is Available Here

Washington, DC— Today, legal, media, and civil rights experts gathered to discuss the serious implications of the Trump campaign’s close ties with white nationalists and the white nationalist media. From the outset the Trump campaign has had a troubling relationship with those individuals or groups espousing white supremacy. Whether it is the newly announced, Trump-inspired Senate campaign of former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke; the recent comments from the chairman of the American Nazi Party Rocky Suhayada concerning the opportunities that Trump gives to white nationalists; or the behind the scenes interactions between the Trump campaign and white nationalist media and supporters.

Henry Fernandez, Senior Fellow, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said, “The white supremacist movement has provided a home for violent extremists including Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and Holocaust Memorial murderer James von Brunn. That white supremacists using the Trump campaign to grow in numbers and influence should send a chill through all Americans of good will.  Their ideas, if allowed to enter the mainstream, will challenge the fabric of the world’s most diverse democracy.”

Heidi Beirich, Head of the Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “The white supremacist movement has been enlivened and empowered by Trump’s rise. In the past, racial extremists have decried both political parties, feeling their ideas had no home in mainstream. But Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other bigoted statements have drawn white supremacists to engage in the political system in a way that they never have before. And that entry into the mainstream of hateful ideas once scorned will be a lasting and terrible legacy.”

Sophie Bjork-James, Post-doctoral Fellow and Lecturer at Vanderbilt University, said, “The Trump campaign has given the white nationalist movement a long-awaited opportunity to spread its message. This has given the movement one of its largest membership boosts in decades. The impacts of this will continue long after this election cycle.”

Angelo Carusone, Executive Vice President of Media Matters for America, said, “Not only are White Nationalists supporting Trump for president – they are using him to recruit new followers, fundraise, build their media footprint and mainstream their racism. Trump and his campaign in turn have intentionally elevated these extremists, from echoing their anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic messages to granting them press credentials (while banning major outlets). It’s an alarming synergistic relationship.”

A recording of today’s call is available here.