Editors' Note: This story has been updated to correct the timing of a quote attributed to Brad Griffin of Occidental Dissent. The quote was from a piece Griffin published in 2011 on the question of President Obama's citizenship.
Donald Trump has set the political system on its side. With brash public pronouncements and a willingness to say whatever is on his mind, the New York billionaire has found himself leading the polls with a groundswell of support – even from white nationalists.
While he certainly isn’t the first mainstream politician to garner support from the white nationalist community, his political style and messages about immigration have amounted what many in the movement argue is a threat to the two-party system that has long kept them out of the mainstream. In short, Trump says it like it is.
Take his comments during a speech announcing his candidacy in June as an example.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Two weeks later, when asked about his comments, Trump claimed they were “entirely accurate.”
Trump's candidacy comes at a very unique time. The Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage and the move by Southern states to remove the Confederate Battle flag from government property, has created a vacuum for a right-wing populist candidate. And Trump was on hand to fill the void and answer to a sense of rage growing on the radical right. His willingness to speak up about issues dear to the white nationalist cause, and his challenge to the two-party system, are what many white nationalists find most appealing.
Gregory Hood, an avid white nationalist writer, wrote a piece in support of Trump for the Radix blog, a website and magazine started by white nationalist Richard Spencer. In the piece, “Why We Need A Troll As President,” Hood argues that anyone dismissing Trump as a “clown” who is not serious “needs to look at the alternatives.”
Trump is worth supporting. He is worth supporting because we need a troll. We need someone who can expose the system that rules us as the malevolent and worthless entity it is. We need someone who can break open public debate. We need someone who can expose and heighten the contradictions within the system. And we need someone who can call out the press, the politicians, and the pseudo-intellectuals as the empty shells they are.
That argument for delegitimizing the two-party system is one of the oldest debates for white nationalists, who have historically been at odds with a political system they see as their enemy. And for the more influential, intellectual white nationalists, any candidate who challenges the two-party system is treated as a godsend.
Brad Griffin, founder of the white nationalist Occidental Dissent website, parroted Hood’s comments on Trump as early as 2011, writing, “Donald Trump isn’t a conservative or a racialist by any stretch of the imagination, but he is a tornado that can inflict a lot of damage upon the two-party system.”
Trump’s repeated attack of Mexicans has helped garner support, too. The New York Times reported last weekend on Trump’s long history of vilifying immigrants.
Members of the White Genocide Project, a white nationalist group formed to raise awareness of the “genocide” of white people around the world, started a White House petition calling on President Obama to honor Trump for “opposing white genocide.” The petition currently has 242 signatures and ends with the phrase “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.” The phrase is part of a white nationalist screed called “The Mantra,” that has gone viral in the white nationalist world. Billboards with slogans about “white genocide” have appeared across the country, and the Mantra has become a frequent rallying cry at white nationalist gatherings nationwide over the past few years.
“Americans, real Americans have been dreaming of a candidate who says the obvious, that illegal immigrants from Mexico are a low-rent bunch that includes rapists and murders,” Taylor said in a video posted on his American Renaissance website.
But Trump’s comments about Mexican’s are more than the off-the-cuff mutterings of a political candidate – they also are part of a broader anti-immigrant narrative sitting at the core of white nationalism.
Trump has spent much of his campaign discussing the issue of immigration, whether it be demanding a fence be built along border between the United States and Mexico, or criticizing “sanctuary cities” –– municipalities around the country that have chosen to limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration. Many white nationalists, including Taylor, have praised Trump for his criticism “sanctuary cities.” They argue it wouldn’t be talked about at all if it weren’t for him.
“Trump is ‘divisive’ in that he forces his opponents and rivals to take sides. In this case, he demonstrated that the other GOP candidates are interchangeable cowards and conformists," Richard Spencer wrote, praised Trump for his outspoken comments, in a piece last month on the Radix website.
On the same site, Gregory Hood echoed Spencer's remarks. “And yet he continues to gain support because, unlike every other politician in the United States, and certainly every other politician on the American Right, Trump never apologizes. He keeps attacking.”
In a previous video, Taylor lauded Trump for sticking to his guns, stating, “Imagine that, a white man who doesn’t apologize!”