In Boston, two Donald Trump fans brutally assault a Latino man, leaving him with a broken nose and covered in their urine. In Iowa, another Trump fan berates US citizen Jorge Ramos on camera, telling the journalist to “get out of my country.” In Alabama, another Trump fan screams “White Power!” during a rally nearly devoid of any people of color.
With each passing week of the Republican Presidential primary, it’s become more and more clear that Trump’s campaign has become something ugly and corrosive as white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements have embraced his dangerous, extremist rhetoric and skyrocketed him to the top of polls.
Earlier this week, HuffPo published an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center (an organization that monitors hate groups) and affirmed that while Trump insists he has a great relationship with “the Hispanics,” in reality, he has “‘white nationalist positions’ on Latino immigrants, whether he considers himself a white nationalist or not”:
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Huffington Post that former White House communications director and three-time presidential aspirant Pat Buchanan was the last presidential candidate to appeal to white supremacist groups in a similar way.
Trump, who is running for president as a Republican, has attracted the support of a number of prominent white supremacists, including David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
An edited transcript of HuffPost’s conversation with Potok is below. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Potok’s remarks.
When was the last time a presidential candidate or other contender for national office got traction with white supremacists the way Trump has?
There is no question we have not seen anything like this since Pat Buchanan. Those two have a lot in common. I am not sure if Trump views himself as a white nationalist, but he has white nationalist positions. When he calls Mexicans rapists and murderers, he is dog-whistling in a very clear way to this far-right constituency. Buchanan and Trump are appealing to the same constituencies.
In terms of public figures, [Fox Business host] Lou Dobbs had some of the same appeal, but among politicians, Buchanan is really the last person to have the effect Trump is having.
The things being said about Trump now in the white nationalist world were being said about Buchanan. It was not clear if he was quite on their side, but they were very pleased with the positions he took.
And it is not just the anti-immigrant positions. Trump is a protectionist in the very same way. Virtually all white nationalists believe America needs to be walled off from the rest of the world.
In some ways Trump has taken an even more extreme position than many white nationalists. I have never heard of white nationalists call for the deportation of the U.S. citizens born to people who came here illegally.
You say it is unclear if Trump himself has white nationalist views.
Whether or not he is a white nationalist through and through is irrelevant. He is an actor, a TV star like Glenn Beck who is willing to say things that are incredibly poisonous and incredibly damaging to the country.
Is it fair to say Buchanan was even more careful than Trump in what he said?
Yes, Buchanan was more careful than Trump. Like him or hate him, Buchanan was an intellectual. That cannot be said about Trump. This is a guy who says he is going to study foreign policy by watching TV shows.
Let me say plainly: I think Trump’s comments about Latino immigrants are flat-out racist. I am not sure how you can see it any other way.
These hate groups embracing Trump also hate black people, Jews and gay people. Is immigration now their top priority?
Between 2000 and 2008, we saw bona fide hate groups like the Klan and neo-Nazi formations abandon all their rhetoric against black people, gay people and Jews in order to focus 100 percent on quote-unquote illegal aliens. The reason is pure opportunism. They simply understood that their normal rhetoric would not have broader resonance at all. The far right was very focused on illegal immigration until 2008, and then after [President Barack] Obama’s election, things began to turn in a somewhat different direction. They started to include a broader critique, or broader fear, that white people were being displaced by what was happening — that Obama represented something that was fundamentally un-American and foreign to the core of the country.
Some people have compared Trump’s rise to the ascent of far-right parties in Europe. They both pair a kind of racially infused anti-immigration position with more centrist, or even left-leaning, domestic economic positions. How much of this is economically motivated?
These people are responding to huge demographic changes, but also an unstable economy and a lot of cultural changes like rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage. As our country transitions for the first time to a truly multicultural democracy, we are living through a tremendous backlash, and Trump really represents that.
Another report, “Top Racists And Neo-Nazis Back Donald Trump,” highlights the support Trump has received from noted white supremacists both online and in the airwaves:
At least eight top figures in the marginalized white nationalist movement said — in recent posts, podcasts, and interviews with BuzzFeed News — that they want Trump.
Visitors to the website for the Council of Conservative Citizens — a white nationalist group cited by Charleston church shooter Dylan Roof — will find a steady stream of pro-Trump articles. “Trump Surge Continues,” “Jorge Ramos Deported From Trump Press Conference,” “Trump’s Nationalist Coalition,” reads the front page of the site.
Earl Holt, the president of the organization, declined to comment on Trump.
But Jared Taylor, who runs the site American Renaissance — which argues that “one of the most destructive myths of modern times is that people of all races have the same average intelligence” — is an avid supporter of The Donald.
In a recent post, Taylor contended, “If Mr. Trump loses, this could be the last chance whites have to vote for a president who could actually do something useful for them and for their country.”
In an interview on Wednesday with BuzzFeed News, Taylor further explained that his support for Trump was based on his desire for whites to remain the majority racial group in the United States.
“Why should whites want to be a minority?” he said. “Answer me that question. Why should we want to celebrate diversity when celebrating diversity means celebrating our dwindling numbers and influence? And to the extent that Trump succeeds in putting the brakes on immigration, he will also be succeeding at reducing the speed with which whites are reduced to a minority.”
He added that this was the way “frankly that all whites feel, we just never dare say so.”
Brad Griffin, who writes under the pseudonym Hunter Wallace for the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent (“We don’t want to see our peoples be submerged”), said in an interview that he supports Trump for other reasons. In addition to his staunch opposition to immigration, he also noted the candidate’s positions on “trade, political correctness, and campaign finance.”
“I like the fact that he’s funny,” Griffin added.
Peter Brimelow, the founder of the extreme anti-immigration Vdare.com, agrees.
“He just shoots from the hip but his hip seems to move in a very good direction,” he said on a recent podcast.
“They are stunning,” Brimelow said of Trump’s immigration proposals. “They were stunning.”
“In the Meet the Press interview he gave, just flat-out said they have to go. And he doesn’t say that in his actual position paper, but of course it’s good news and of course he’s right they should go,” Brimelow said later. “All of them.”
The full report from Buzzfeed, which includes a slew of other Trump support from leaders within these extremist movements, is available here to read.
Additionally, “Trump 2016: White Nationalists Throw Their Support Behind The Donald,” is another must-read from the SPLC.
Trump isn’t exactly disowning the support from white nationalist supporters, either. When questioned by TPM, Trump simply responded, “People like me across the board. Everybody likes me.”