With the growing incidents of swastika painting and “European” groups’ surfacing after the election, many people are suspecting that American neo-Nazis may be a segment of Trump’s support that he and his people appreciate, or at least are reluctant to alienate. This weekend there was a neo-Nazi conference in Washington, D.C. at which the main speaker ended his speech with “Hail Trump!” and some in the audience imitated the Hitlergruss, that is, what is usually called in English the “Nazi salute.” Should Trump really be considered a sort of spiritual descendent of Adolf, or is all of this, as his people insist, a big misunderstanding?
How did this support of Trump by neo-Nazis start? First, Trump became the poster boy for “birtherism.” Then, he proclaimed at the start of his campaign for President that he would institute some sort of ban on the immigration of Muslims. This may have been a clumsy attempt to formulate a plan to prevent “Islamic terrorists” from sneaking into the country, parallel to his building a “wall” to keep “drug dealers” and other “criminals” from sneaking in from Mexico. However, he initially expressed it in anti-Islamic terms—pure religious/racial hatred—and a lot of people understood it that way. He later insisted that he saw many Muslims in New Jersey on TV cheering on 9/11, which was frequently shown to be completely false.
Was he trying to propose some sort of anti-terrorist policy, or trying to stir up religious and racial hatred because he knew it would build him support with some part of the American people, as his birtherism helped him launch his political career? What we can certainly say for sure is that his entourage is being deliberately vague about this whole subject. Apparently, they do not want either to appear as a clear part of the neo-Nazi movement or, on the other hand, distance themselves from a group of supporters who might have helped them win the election and might become politically useful in the future.
At any rate, all of this is thoroughly disgusting behavior, as many people are insisting, and we are waiting for the President-Elect to make an unambiguous statement condemning this stuff, rather than letting spokespersons for him make vague statements that “he has always said he will be President of all the people.” An important subject to keep watching closely, among all of the confusing developments of the “transition.” A transition to what? we wonder.