In response to violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Donald Trump pointedly refused to condemn the perpetrators, saying that blame for the violence comes from “many sides.” At least one person has died and many others are injured.
Even some traditional allies of Trump, like Senator Cory Gardner, have condemned Trump’s silence.
Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
But one group of people were thrilled with Trump’s comments: the white supremacists themselves.
The popular white supremacist site Daily Stormer called Trump’s remarks “really good,” noting that he “didn’t attack us.” They were also pleased he ignored a question about white supremacists after making his statement.
Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.
He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides!
So he implied the antifa are haters.
There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.
He said he loves us all.
Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.
No condemnation at all.
When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.
Really, really good.
God bless him.
Some commentators on the white nationalist message board Stormfront also praised Trump, with one noting that the president’s comments could just as easily be read as a criticism of Black Lives Matter.
Others on Stormfront were upset Trump didn’t take things further and actively support white nationalists.
This view was echoed by former KKK grand wizard David Duke.
So, after decades of White Americans being targeted for discriminated & anti-White hatred, we come together as a people, and you attack us? https://t.co/Rkfs7O2Ykr
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 12, 2017
Trump has, however, installed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. Bannon bragged that Breitbart, the website he ran before joining the Trump campaign, was “the platform for the alt-right.” The rally in Charlottesville was organized by the “alt-right,” which is a euphemism for white supremacists and white nationalists.
In the campaign, according to author Joshua Green, Bannon advised Trump to avoid criticizing white nationalists because it didn’t impact his polling.
Trump came under pressure to condemn alt-right racism during the campaign and refused. In my book, Bannon explained why –> pic.twitter.com/2LhYUFzlof
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) August 12, 2017
When Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller recently unveiled the administration’s new immigration policy, he echoed arguments frequently advanced by white supremacists, including an unusual attack on the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Earlier this week another White House adviser, Sebastian Gorka, said people were being too critical of white supremacists. Gorka has drawn controversy for his own alleged ties to a Nazi group in Hungary.