While Donald Trump prepares to occupy the White House, a bunch of white supremacists, led by Richard Spencer, is meeting in Washington, DC to celebrate his election and pronounce themselves to be a thorough part of the mainstream now.
This was the white nationalist lobby — the alt-right — coming to town for a victory lap after Donald Trump’s election, assuming what they see as their rightful place influencing the new administration.
“An awakening among everyone has occurred with this Trump election,” said Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist think tank, as he opened the conference. “We’re not quite the establishment now, but I think we should start acting like it.”
Several hundred pro-white nationalists showed up for the day-long meeting, , buoyed by Trump’s popularity and the role they intend to play in bringing white-identity politics to Washington.
The men resembled Washington lobbyists more than the robed Ku Klux Klansmen or skinhead toughs who often represent white supremacists, though they share many familiar views.
This new generation is aiming to influence Washington in Washington’s own ways: churning out position papers, lobbying lawmakers and, and, perhaps most important, removing the cloak of anonymity to fully join the national political conversation.
Which is precisely why these new Gucci white supremacists are far more dangerous than the KKK or the skinheads. Those people are dismissed by virtually everyone and an object of derision. Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor and others like them are far more insidious. They can move through polite society without raising big alarm bells among people who don’t track them closely and know who they are. And that’s doubly true now that Trump has been elected and put one of their foremost promoters, Steve Bannon, in one of the most important positions in his administration.