Author Information

Erin Best


In America’s Age of Trump, we must all consider the long history of white nationalism. The 2016 presidential election paved the way for a resurgence and more public appearance of this type of bigotry. Often falling under the general use of the “Alt-Right,” white nationalism became associated with Donald Trump and his presidency through multiple avenues and occasions. David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, endorsed Trump for president and, later, his actions while in office, forcing the American public to question Trump’s stance on racism and white nationalism. Trump’s reluctance to denounce immediately Duke’s support fired up the Alt-Right base, while simultaneously inciting anger from many Americans. The tipping point for most Americans occurred with the Unite the Right rally, where both white supremacists and white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12, 2017, to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Counter-protesters met the white nationalists, then violence erupted and multiple injuries occurred. The clash resulted in one woman’s death. On the day of the rally, Trump did not condemn the white nationalists or supremacist groups. Instead, he waited two days and blamed both sides for the violence that had occurred. The Alt-Right did not take Trump’s comments seriously, as the New York Times shows in their article, “Trump Condemns Racists but Creates Fresh Uproar.” The President’s ability to allow white nationalists to feel comfortable and powerful in politics and society mirrors a time in the United States’ history when organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan felt that same level of comfort.

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