Speaking to The Atlantic in a recent piece published in their upcoming June issue, Alt-Right leader and white supremacist Richard Spencer said that the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where a counter-protester was killed by white supremacist marcher, wouldn’t have been possible without President Donald Trump.
The piece, titled, An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry, chronicled decades of rhetoric utilized by Trump and devoted a section to the Charlottesville rally.
“There is no question that Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump,” Spencer said. “It really was because of his campaign and this new potential for a nationalist candidate who was resonating with the public in a very intense way. The alt-right found something in Trump. He changed the paradigm and made this kind of public presence of the alt-right possible.”
The rally, which took place on August 12, 2017, was in response to the city’s decision to take down a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. As violence broke out while the rally was underway, counter protester Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist slammed his car into a crowd of people.
Addressing the violence, Trump famously claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
According to former KKK leader David Duke, the rally was a “turning point” for his movement which seeks to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
The Atlantic piece also cited Trump’s history of housing discrimination and his enthusiastic promotion of “birtherism,” a conspiracy theory that claimed former president Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not an American citizen.
Read the full piece here.