Former Louisiana state Rep. and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Credit: Shaban Athuman/Richmond Times-Dispatch via Associated Press

In this week’s roundup: White supremacists’ reactions to the State of the Union address provide a window into why they liked the president in the first place, a GOP congressman buddies up with a Holocaust denier and hate crimes in Montana and Seattle.

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was especially popular with one demographic: white supremacists.

Their public reactions suggest they heard some racial dog whistles in the president’s speech and revealed some of the reasons they backed Trump in the first place.  

“Watching President Trump @POTUS,” tweeted former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “A very powerful speech. God bless America!”

Andrew Anglin, proprietor of the the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, called it a “good speech.”

White supremacist figurehead Richard Spencer didn’t like that Trump’s speech highlighted non-white Americans, but one line in particular did resonate with him. 


Duke also applauded the line on Twitter: “Thank you President Trump. Americans are ‘Dreamers’ too.”

The phrase, in essence, is like an “All Lives Matter” for the immigration debate.

On the white supremacist hub Stormfront, Trump got praise for criticizing professional athletes who knelt during the national anthem to protest police violence against African Americans.

After telling the story of Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old who started a campaign to place flags on military veterans’ graves, Trump said: “Preston’s reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.”

As HuffPost noted, in the text of the speech the White House distributed to reporters, the last phrase was written in ALL CAPS.

Stormfront users, who regularly have attacked the athletes’ protests, went wild.

“He’s going after the knee takin’ dindoos,” wrote one user, using a slur for African Americans that is common among the racist far right.

While Stormfront users did take offense to parts of the speech outlining the broad details of a potential immigration deal with Democrats, their reaction shows the dynamic of their relationship with Trump.

The site’s users have never viewed Trump entirely as one of their own, especially when he made overtures to the black community during the 2016 presidential campaign. However, he is largely seen as someone who is, in many ways, aligned with their battles against non-white enemies – such as black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

Meanwhile in Congress

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida brought alt-right provocateur Chuck Johnson as his personal guest to the president’s annual speech. Apparently, Johnson showed up at Gaetz’s office, attracted by what Johnson described as their mutual support for “weed and bitcoin,” and Gaetz invited Johnson to the speech.

Johnson is a Holocaust denier whose website WeSearchr raised over $150,000 for the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer’s legal defense fund and more than $230,000 for a white identitarian group to charter a boat in the Mediterranean that would intercept refugees in transit and send them “back to Africa.”

The Daily Stormer wanders the internet

In recent months, it hasn’t always been easy to find The Daily Stormer. As one tech company after another has severed relationships with the site over its hateful content, it has bounced around to domain names from .com to .ai and .red.

It lost that last domain a few days ago but wasn’t down long. It’s active again, this time with a new address.

The site’s founder, Andrew Anglin, has lived a similarly transient experience. No one can seem to find him. Anglin spent months ducking a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of a Jewish family that wants Anglin held accountable for a “troll storm” he unleashed. He eventually hired a legal team to appear in court on his behalf, but he’s still missing in action.  

In a blog post, Anglin claimed he was living in Lagos, Nigeria. However, we debunked the evidence Anglin put in the post to back that up.

Notable hate crimes

DaShawn Horne, an African American man from the Seattle area, remains in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted in a vicious race-based beating.

Horne had spent the night with a white woman he met in a Seattle nightclub. The woman’s brother attacked Horne with a baseball bat as he was getting into a Lyft outside her home the next morning.

“This is what happens when you bring black people around here,” the driver reportedly heard the assailant say.

In Missoula, Montana, a woman has been charged with a hate crime after writing an anti-Semitic message on her car windshield and parking it in front of a Jewish neighbor’s house. According to the Missoulian, Breanna Privett admitted to police that she wrote, “Fuck off Jew,” but also told them that she didn’t know what a Jew was or that her neighbors were Jewish. Privett’s disorderly conduct charge normally would be a misdemeanor, but the hate crime charge means she could face a minimum of two years in prison.

And an update from last week’s Hate Report: Samuel Woodward, a suspect in the murder of student Blaze Bernstein, reportedly trained and associated with members of a extremist neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen Division, according to ProPublica.

ProPublica reported that the group, a fascist organization dedicated to overthrowing the U.S. government, “has been tied to four other murders and an elaborate bomb plot over the past eight months.”  

Year after hate attack, Texas mosque rebuilds

Almost a year to the day after it was burned to the ground in a hate-fueled arson, the Victoria Islamic Center outside San Antonio has started rebuilding.

The new structure is rising thanks to $1.1 million raised online from donors across the globe. Omar Rachid, a member of the center who started the campaign, told a local news station: “The most beautiful thing that you’ll ever see is human kindness, and this support that we have been able to garner is a testament of that human kindness.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of hate crime victim DaShawn Horne.

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Have a hate incident to report? Tell us about it here, or contact The Hate Report team: Aaron Sankin can be reached at asankin@revealnews.org, and Will Carless can be reached at wcarless@revealnews.org. Follow them on Twitter: @asankin and @willcarless.

 

Aaron Sankin is a reporter for Reveal covering online extremism, election administration and technology policy. Before joining Reveal, he was a founding editor of The Huffington Post's San Francisco vertical and a senior staff writer on The Daily Dot's politics team. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Time, The Motley Fool, Mashable, Business Insider, San Francisco magazine and The Onion. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Sankin studied history and sociology at Rice University. His work at The Daily Dot was a finalist in Digiday's 2015 publisher of the year award, and a story he wrote about a Midwestern family being terrorized by a teenage hacker was labeled by The Atlantic as an essential piece of journalism for 2015. Sankin is based in Seattle.

Will Carless was a correspondent for Reveal covering extremism. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia and South America. Prior to joining Reveal, he was a senior correspondent for Public Radio International’s Global Post team based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Before that, Will spent eight years at the Voice of San Diego, where he worked as an investigative reporter and head of investigations. During his tenure in San Diego, Will was awarded several prizes, including a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has been a finalist for the Livingston Awards for young journalists twice in the last five years. He surfs, spends time with his family, travels to silly places and pretends he’s writing a novel.