Alt-right leader Richard Spencer said this week that he is “disappointed” in the disavowal lobbed at his movement by President-elect Donald Trump when pressed on the matter while meeting with the New York Times.
Richard Spencer, who leads the National Policy Institute and personally coined the now widely used label of “alt-right,” remarked as such while speaking to the Associated Press after the revelation of Trump’s disavowal — which is not the first of its kind.
After the KKK’s David Duke came out in strong support of the man who is now president-elect — a support which eventually culminated in an “official” KKK endorsement of Trump’s presidential candidacy — then presidential candidate Donald Trump did not initially disavow Duke, instead claiming to the CNN host interviewing him that he did not know enough about Duke to disavow him.
He, however, went on to say while being interviewed on MSNBC that “David Duke is a bad person. I disavowed the KKK. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time?”
Spencer criticized the president-elect for distancing himself from the alt-right, remarking that his tenure, be it four years or eight years, will turn “meaningless” without the “intellectual vanguard” that white nationalists can provide.
Spencer also remarked that the president-elect “needs” the alt-right in order to “actualize the populism that fueled his campaign.”
Spencer said he hasn’t given up hope yet for the future of his movement under Trump, however. He said, according to the Associated Press, that he understands “where [Trump] is coming from politically and practically,” and that he will “wait and see” how Trump’s administration takes shape before making a final judgment.
After all, months remain before the moment of truth, when Trump actually takes office and his ideas and the team he is now assembling are put to the test.
With Breitbart’s Steve Bannon in a close advisory position to the president-elect, a position he will retain heading into January and the next four years as the president-elect becomes the actual president, the stage is definitely set for Trump’s disavowal of the alt-right to be nothing more than words.
Bannon, after all, in his capacity as head of right wing propaganda machine Breitbart, is a leader of the alt-right alongside Spencer. Breitbart routinely publishes headlines which are ethically questionable at best, heading stories which single out minorities, from African Americans to Jews.
The president-elect, however, refused to condemn Breitbart while in his Tuesday New York Times meeting. Instead, he simply remarked that the publication is “certainly a much more conservative paper, to put it mildly, than The New York Times.”
Trump may be, in some respects, totally ignorant of what on earth he is doing in being tasked with forming an administration and actually becoming president of the United States — think Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Trump on last week’s SNL, if you’re familiar — but he isn’t stupid enough to be ignorant of the fact that refusing to disavow people like Spencer is essentially political suicide.
But, again, the only thing making up Trump’s disavowal is words. In practice it remains to be seen how close Trump will be to alt-right interests once he actually assumes the presidency.
Featured Image via Spencer Platt/ Getty Images.