For months, all the dark corners of the radical right have stood unified behind the banner of Donald J. Trump’s campaign for president.
He has been endorsed by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, hailed as “Glorious Leader” and “Humble Philosopher” by the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, been the beneficiary of a American National Super PAC formed by the White Nationalist American Freedom Party (AFP), and credited with creating a space for the ideas of the Alt-Right to enter the mainstream.
But now, in typical fashion, the white nationalist movement has begun infighting, more consumed with squabbling amongst themselves than standing in a united front for Trump.
On Monday, Bob Whitaker, the Presidential candidate for AFP, resigned from the party’s ticket after a conflict erupted over William Johnson, AFP’s chairman, and his efforts to aid the Trump campaign rather than the campaign of his own party’s candidate. Johnson, who is the mastermind behind the American National Super PAC, has spent thousands to generate robocalls ahead of state primaries across the United States. Those robocalls supported Trump, not his own party’s candidate, Whitaker.
“I am voting for Donald Trump because he will not only be presidential, he will put America first,” begins the most recent call in Wisconsin. “Furthermore, he will respect all women and will help preserve Western civilization. If you vote for Donald Trump, he will be a fine president. He will select the very best to be in his cabinet, and the entire world will benefit from his leadership.”
Johnson’s use of the phrase “Western civilization,” which is clearly code for white civilization here, is frequently used by white nationalists to seed their ideas in the mainstream without alienating audiences with overt racist language. It is this use of dialed down racism, and a decision by prominent white nationalists to eschew Whitaker’s very favorite term “white genocide,” that led to Whitaker’s resignation from the AFP ticket according to leaked emails from AFP’s leadership.
Whitaker is a white nationalist legend, having created one of the most notorious pieces of white nationalist propaganda, “the Mantra,” that reads in part:
Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, white countries for everybody! … If I tell [the] obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.
According to a statement emailed to the Huffington Post by his senior staffer, Whitaker, who is outraged by this cleaned up language, has “been in campaigns for fifty years, and [he’s] never seen anything as screwed up as this.” Whitaker is referring to a decision by AFP’s leadership to not only put all of its resources into an opposition candidate, but then to bar the usage of the term “white genocide,” which sits at the core of Whitaker’s mantra. This tactic was revealed in internal AFP emails that were obtained by the Huffington Post.
“Let’s be a wee more diplomatic with the ms [mainstream] media,” wrote Tomislav Sunic, a former Croatian diplomat, regular speaker on the white nationalist circuit in the United States, and member of AFP’s board of directors. “Instead of using the right word ‘white genocide’ let’s use ‘physical, administrative removal of Americans of European extraction.’ Instead of ‘white nationalists’ let’s use ‘white advocates’ or ‘advocates of European heritage.’”
Jared Taylor, founder of the white nationalist think tank American Renaissance, spokesman for the Council of Conservative Citizens, and member of AFP’s board of directors, echoed Sunic’s sentiments, writing:
I agree that ‘genocide’ is too strong. It sounds like people attacking us with machetes and pitchforks. I think simple ‘dispossession’ is better. Also white nationalism sounds pretty stern, I think white advocacy sounds less scary but says what we want to say.
Kevin MacDonald, a prominent anti-Semite, disgraced former psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach, and AFP board of directors member told his colleagues, “If you say genocide, people roll their eyes. It’s not a good label to use in a sound bite.”
This change of heart from his party’s board of directors likely came as a surprise to Whitaker who was widely viewed as AFP’s choice for their presidential ticket in order to more widely spread his own mantra.
At this point, Bill Johnson’s Robocalls are probably significantly damaging #Trump’s campaign. Please Stop!
Spencer has been one of Trump’s most vocal supporters on the radical right. He recently hosted a gathering in Washington D.C. entitled “Identity Politics” that centered almost entirely on Trump’s rise. Spencer specifically credits Trump with creating a space in the mainstream for the white nationalist ideas of the Alt-Right.
Stormfront, the Internet’s largest white supremacist forum was split on the controversy. While some members like Robert DePasquale (AKA ‘BoyHowdy’) dismissed Whitaker as a “cantankerous old man,” others took Whitaker’s side on the issue of the terminology.
You aren't going to get your average moderate White man to go from a meh attitude towards the GOP to 14/88 RACE WAR NOW overnight,” wrote ‘WhiteNationhood’. “What white genocide does do (and amazingly well) is it becomes a little memetic [sic] worm that gets people thinking and looking for more info.
While the chorus of infighting comes as no surprise, it is the first serious stumble in organized support from white nationalists for Trump’s campaign. If history is any indication, it won’t be the last.
Calls for comment to both Whitaker and Taylor were not returned.