President Donald Trump’s rise to national prominence has fueled plenty of hate at this point — he’s goaded his followers into going after everyone from protesters to immigrants. Now, one former FBI official and MSNBC national security analyst believes that a new step Trump has undertaken sends an implicit message of support to the neo-Nazi movement, even if that’s not what Trump intended. Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi asserted as much on the network over the timing of Trump’s decision to order American flags lowered to half-staff in honor of those killed in a pair of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The flags are set to be raised back up on August 8 — which as “8/8,” Figliuzzi says doubles as a symbol used by neo-Nazis for “Heil Hitler” because H is the eighth letter of the English alphabet.
As he put it in conversation with Brian Williams:
‘It’s the little things and the language and messaging that matters… Now, I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by the White House… No one’s thinking about this, no one’s giving him the advice. Or he’s rejecting the advice.’
Trump has certainly already established on his own time that while fanning the flames of white supremacy with demands like one for women of color in Congress to “go back where they came from,” he’s refusing to acknowledge any sort of long-term issue with the connected rise of white supremacists. After one killed some 50 people in an attack on the New Zealand Muslim community, he said he didn’t think the ideology should be perceived as a rising global threat. In the time since, a similarly styled individual spouting the exact same rhetoric he has used about an immigrant “invasion” attacked a Walmart in El Paso, killing some 20 people.
In prepared remarks following the El Paso shooting, Trump asserted that “in one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” — but that doesn’t erase the other remarks that he made, even if he refuses to acknowledge a connection. The irony of him droning on about how supposedly “hatred has no place in America” while just recently happily presiding over a rally crowd chanting “Send her back!” about a woman of color in Congress is glaring.
Unsurprisingly considering precedent, conservatives like occasional Trump supporter Ann Coulter reacted angrily to Figliuzzi’s suggestion that one of Trump’s latest moves constituted an implicit nod to white supremacists. On Twitter, she called it the “craziest thing ever said on TV,” which the MSNBC guest responded to by calling her the “craziest person on TV” and noting that he “clearly said I’m not saying Trump did this deliberately,” but instead, that Trump “needs advice on putting out the fire he started.”
Trump has never exactly proven himself keen on counsel or even just advice, with record high senior staff turnover rates well-established at this point, so Figliuzzi’s suggestion that he stop talking and listen for once is a longshot.
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