Al-right fury after Trump disavowal of white supremacist group
Members of the alt-right movement in the USA have shown dismay at President-elect Donald Trump’s pointed disavowal of the movement. During a contentious meeting with the New York Times on Tuesday 22 November, Trump replied “I disavow and condemn” when asked if he would condemn an alt-right meeting that took place in Washington DC over the previous weekend. There members gave Nazi salutes and shouted “Hail Trump”.
A leader of the movement, Richard Spencer, told the Associated Press that he was “disappointed” by the president-elect’s comments but said that he understood “politically and practically” why he had made them.
During the interview with editors, reporters and columnists at the Times , Trump said that he did not want to “energize” the group: “I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group.” Adding that he did not know where the group were in previous campaigns: “where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don’t know, I had nothing to compare it to.”
Trump also defended the appointment of Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist by saying: “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”
Bannon previously ran the Breitbart news site which he called “the platform for the alt-right.”
The Guardian noted that many alt-right users of sites such as Reddit and 4chan had expressed dismay at Trump’s comments. One post on Reddit’s r/altright message board asked whether other users felt “bamboozled by the Donald”.
The top comment reads: “You are fooled if you think Trump was going to give us some sort of permission slip to start cleansing America. He isn’t our ‘man on a white horse’.”
Many of the other comments questioned whether Trump was alt-right in the first place. “Donald isn’t alt-right, never was. He’s a hell of a step in the right direction though.” read one. Another said that Trump did not need to express support for the group: “We support him because he agrees with us on important policy goals, not because he flatters us.”
Though a reply to that comment seemed more worried, asking whether there are “any clear examples that he’s still with us”.