It hasn’t been a month since the inauguration, and already white nationalists are celebrating President Trump’s flurry of executive orders on immigration and his Supreme Court nominee as a concerted effort to preserve America’s white identity.
“President Trump is off to an amazing start, God bless him for it!” former Klansman David Duke wrote in one tweet on Jan. 25. “We simply want our own country and our own society. That's in no way exploitative. We want our own society, our own nation,” he wrote in another that day.
Duke was not alone in his praise. Richard Spencer, one of the leading figureheads of the white nationalist “Alt-Right,” was delighted in Trump’s swift action to build the wall, something he regards as “a symbol of the will to survive.” And Dan Stein, president of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), lauded Trump’s actions.
“By taking meaningful steps to regain border security and enhance interior immigration enforcement, the administration is underscoring the primacy of the national interest,” Stein wrote in a statement. “These long overdue policy steps will protect public safety and American jobs.”
For James Edwards, host of the online white nationalist radio show Political Cesspool, Trump leaning toward white nationalism became apparent when he hung President Andrew Jackson’s portrait in the oval office.
“The fact that he put up a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the oval office should’ve sent a huge signal…[and] that’s were it started,” Edwards said earlier this month on his radio show.
Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forcefully removed Native Americans for white settlers in the south. In Edwards’ view, this act advanced European-American interests.
To some white nationalists, Trump’s executive orders, much like the Indian Removal Act, work to protect the United States’ white identity –– an identity they increasingly see under attack.
“This is what we call ‘a good start,” Daily Stormer contributor Azzmador wrote in an article titled, “Glorious Leader Wreaks Havoc on Filthy Moslem Would-Be Invaders.” “We need to ban these camel jockeys and all other adherents of this heathen, goat loving, child-raping desert cult, so the list needs to be longer.”
The praise for the administration’s actions also demonstrates how Trump’s campaign rhetoric energized white nationalist thinkers who have waited decades for a moment of political legitimacy, and throws doubt on the president’s disavowal of the radical right.
“God bless you, @POTUS, for putting America First. The #muslimban is the right thing to do,” James Edwards wrote after Trump signed the executive order that banned travel from seven Muslim countries.
Kevin MacDonald, editor of the Occidental Observer, an online publication that prints articles written by anti-Semitic intellectuals, went farther than most in his praise of Trump. He also attacked the genetics of Somali, Iranian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Libyan, Yemeni and Syrian people.
“Those 7 countries have average IQs of around 85. Rather doubt we'd be missing anything in the brains department,” he tweeted.
The praise hasn’t focused exclusively on Trump’s executive orders. After the president announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court, white nationalists celebrated Gorsuch’s ancestry as proof he will, if confirmed, defend white heritage.
“Neil Gorsuch is the first Anglo-Saxon Protestant to be nominated to the Supreme Court in my lifetime. As with so much with Trump, symbolism is more important,” Spencer wrote in an article titled, “America’s Wise WASPY Dad.”
“[The] real meaning of Gorsuch,” Spencer wrote, “is his identity.”
Brad Griffin, who runs the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent using the pseudonym “Hunter Wallace,” was equally impressed with Gorsuch’s lineage. “Judge Gorsuch comes from an old stock White Anglo Saxon Protestant family,” he wrote.
While the outcome of Trump’s new policies remains unclear, especially as a growing number of courts nationwide ruled against his ban, one thing seems obvious: white nationalists believe Trump’s executive orders and Supreme Court nominee will protect white identity.