Donald Trump is set to host a freewheeling interview Wednesday night on one of the internet’s most dedicated communities for Trump fandom, and one that’s also become a major online haven for the alt-right.
The GOP nominee is scheduled to appear on the social networking site Reddit for an Ask Me Anything (AMA), an open-to-all interview where anonymous internet users can ask the appointed person anything they want to, on the site’s Trump-themed group, r/The_Donald. Trump will then choose which questions to answer in real time starting at 7 p.m. ET.
The r/The_Donald community page, known as a subreddit, boasts nearly 200,000 subscribers and referrs to Trump as “our God Emperor” and “the Nimble Navigator” in a post promoting the AMA. In February 2016, the subreddit had its best traffic month ever, reporting more than 50 million page views. The page was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this month as the apparent source of Trump’s infamous defense of his tweet calling Hillary Clinton the “most corrupt candidate ever” inside a Star of David: an image of the same six-point star shape on the cover of a “Frozen” coloring book.
Users perusing the page are greeted by posts fantasizing about the accidental death of FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, making racist jokes about President Barack Obama and his family, and lampooning the “mainstream media” and pseudo-conservative “cucks” for any perceived slight against their preferred presidential candidate. Oh, and memes. Lots and lots of conservative memes.
All that attention has vaulted the community’s proudly politically incorrect posts onto the front page of Reddit, a distinction that drives even more eyeballs from visitors across the site, which has raised more than a few eyebrows about the group’s intentions.
While landing an appearance from the Donald himself has been the group’s biggest victory to date, its schedule for upcoming AMAs is a veritable who’s-who of alt-right crusaders: online harassment enthusiast Milo Yiannopoulos, fresh off his lifetime Twitter ban, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and conservative pundit Ann Coulter.
The Trump campaign did not respond to TPM’s questions about the nominee’s appearance on the site.
Although the community is intended as a gathering place for avowed Trump backers, the page’s moderators are notorious for banning users who violate their rules, with other pages sprouting up among banned users. Last month, the subreddit was rocked by its biggest user-based controversy to date when moderators were forced to ban a user going by the name “CisWhiteMaelstrom,” who’s been credited with the subreddit’s explosive growth, a meteoric rise that was well-documented by New York Magazine.
That user ran aground with a post that fellow moderators decided went a bridge too far by boasting he could get away with raping “illegals.”
In a post about the decision to ban “CisWhiteMaelstrom,” user “TehDonald” said he also privately divulged plans to start promoting a white supremacist-run, alt-right subreddit on r/The_Donald.
“Having a moderator of the largest pro-Trump subreddit promote people that Trump himself would disavow does nothing to help Trump,” the moderator wrote. “It does, however, give credibility to the left wing narrative that Trump’s campaign is built on racism.”
As a Daily Beast reporter flagged Wednesday afternoon, r/The_Donald also has some interesting questions for users to apply to moderate the page. Among them: “Is there a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy?” and “Was 9/11 an inside job?”