White Supremacist Leader Spencer: Trump’s Condemnation Isn’t Serious

Jeff Malet Photography

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer asserted Monday that President Donald Trump wasn’t being “serious” when he denounced hate groups by name, two days after blaming “many sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The statement today was more kumbaya nonsense,” Spencer said at a press conference. “You can say racism is evil; we should all love one another; the sun should always shine, seven days a week; everyone should be above average; everyone should be a wonderful athlete; everyone should love each other. It’s just silliness.”

“It’s not serious, and I don’t think anyone takes it seriously, including the President,” he added.

Two days after blaming “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, where a counter-protester was allegedly killed by a man identified with white supremacists, Trump condemned hate groups by name.

“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said, reading slowly from prepared remarks.

“He sounded like a Sunday school teacher,” Spencer said Monday. “I don’t take him seriously.”

Spencer is widely credited with creating the term “alt-right” as a description of internet-savvy white racists and misogynists. He’s also the president of the National Policy Institute, at whose annual conference he made news in November by proclaiming: “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” to a smattering of Nazi salutes.

“I don’t think Donald Trump is a dumb person,” Spencer added of Trump’s remarks. “And only a dumb person would take those lines seriously. I mean, you’d have to be a really — I mean, again, it sounded like something out of Sunday school.”

Trump has dropped hints since the stiff statement that he may not have fully meant it. First, he said the media would “never be satisfied” with his performance as President, adding that they were “truly bad people,” presumably for pressuring him to condemn hate groups.

He also retweeted the conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, who has been photographed with Spencer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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