On Friday, Rachel Maddow expertly carved up Donald Trump and his racist supporters from the alt-right. But what does the heck does Pepe the Frog have to do with it?
First, Rachel Maddow ran footage from a speech Hillary Clinton gave at a community college in Reno, Nevada, back in August. This marked the first time the Democratic POTUS candidate hit Donald Trump really hard on his bigotry.
‘This is not Republicanism as we have known it. These are racist ideas. Race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women… All key tenets making up the emerging racist ideology known as the “alt-right.”‘
In the background, you can hear someone hollering “PEPE!” Rachel Maddow stops the video and describes it as “that one weird heckling moment.” She points out how strange and random it seemed.
‘So, it’s not like an applause moment or a booing moment, or whatever, it’s quiet. Everyone’s listening to what she says.’
Then, when Hillary Clinton utters the words “alt-right” someone randomly shouts, “PEPE!”
‘And to most people, that was a totally inexplicable thing at the moment, must be totally random.’
But these things are never random, Rachel Maddow points out.
‘To the white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Neo-Nazi Right in this country, that guy yelling that out in that moment? That was a moment of triumph. That was the most hilarious thing they had ever heard in their lives.’
Thanks to my buddy Eric for informing me that Hitler Pepe is literally on MSNBC as part of the election coverage… pic.twitter.com/ZUAmHoIHQJ
— Matt Sullivan (@bigsully17) September 17, 2016
So, how the heck did Pepe the Frog morph from a goofy, hedonistic teenage comic book character into a racist, alt-right supporter of Donald Trump? It has a lot to do with Richard Spencer, a white supremacist intent on branding the alt-right and taking it to mainstream America. Or, as Rachel Maddow describes:
‘This is the guy who designed the new, spacey logo that he wants the alt-right to use. This is a guy who just wants a white homeland, is that too much to ask?’
Seriously, Richard Spencer actually designed an alt-right logo.
"Alt Wave” meme pic.twitter.com/4uWk9G6bYL
— Richard ⛄️ Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) September 12, 2016
Rachel Maddow somehow got hold of video footage with this guy talking to a room full of white supremacists on how to raise the profile of the alt-right movement. And part of Spencer’s bizarre plan takes the dank memes concept from Bernie Sanders’ supporters and twists it into something sick and unrecognizable.
‘That’s going to involve dank memes. It’s going to involve Pepe. It’s going to involve unleashing a little chaos.’
But why Pepe the Frog? Because, according to Richard Spencer:
‘This is someone who is willing to speak the truth.’
Watch: Rachel Maddow explains how Donald Trump’s racist Alt-Right supporters stole the Pepe the Frog meme.
Here are some examples of the alt-right’s mis-use of the formerly dank Pepe the Frog meme, which has been retweeted by none other than Mein Trumpf himself.
— Hillary WON, Period‼️ (@igob4u2) August 28, 2016
Avid Donald Trump supporter and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke signaled his support of the alt-right with a photo of Donald Trump kissing Pepe the Frog as a baby.
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) September 15, 2016
When Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables, a racist member came up with this. And it replaces the heads of each character from The Expendables with that of some vile right-winger.
— Anthony Putorti (@TonyAWP) September 13, 2016
And here, a Tweep gathered some images from the raging fever swamps of 4-Chan and lived to tell about it. The one on the bottom right says, “kill Jews, man.”
SHOCKING IMAGES FROM THE DARK WEB KNOWN AS 4CHAN. pic.twitter.com/zEbCApyjZ7
— )))Pepe-Frog-Kun((( (@Pepe_frog_kun) August 26, 2016
Oh, and here are some more vile, white supremacist memes.
Because hateful alt-right bigots want Pepe.
Adolf Pepe Hitler knows what happens when Jewish Bankers import immigrants to have cheap labor instead of paying fa… pic.twitter.com/lEMkbg42ng
— PEPE DISTRIBUTION (@DISTRIBUTEPEPEs) September 2, 2016
And Pepe the White Supremacist Frog wants Donald Trump.
— (((Dan Webster))) (@Webster69Dw) June 11, 2016
Who else misses dat boi?
They can take Pepe but I draw the line at Dat Boi. pic.twitter.com/u01I1H4DzH
— Hollis Jane Andrews (@hollis_jane) September 17, 2016
Featured image: composite with video screengrabs from The Rachel Maddow Show (with circle and arrow added).