Richard Spencer says it hurt. Not the punch he received last January during an on-camera interview in Washington—that sock-heard-round-the-world, a protester sending Spencer flying, flipping the white nationalist from a force to a farce. The pain from that punch, says Spencer, was superficial. A deeper hurt, a lasting, snow-balling ache, came elsewhere, from the man who helped usher Spencer to prominence, who helped inject white nationalists with a momentum they hadn’t seen in a generation. From the man who coddled white nationalists during a presidential campaign, turning dog-whistles into air-horns, spinning white nationalists into fits of giddiness—promising a hope, and a change, of the kind that would make Bull Connor blush.
The man now in the White House. Donald Trump.
“I do feel, maybe betrayed is too strong a word, because it’s not like Trump signed a contract with the alt-right,” Spencer told Talking Points Memo in May. “I do feel a little bit—I don’t know. God, this is going to make me sound pathetic, but it feels a little bit like getting dumped by your girlfriend. It feels a little like that. It also feels like I can’t trust someone. It’s like someone whom I thought was moving in the right direction makes a strange move to the point where I don’t look at him the same way as I did before.”