Neo-Nazis and white supremacists celebrate Trump's SOTU

David Duke and Richard Spencer, among others 'thanked' the US president for his address.

    US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol  [Nicholas Kamm /AFP]



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    US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol [Nicholas Kamm /AFP] -

    US President Donald Trump's State of the Union address has garnered praise among white supremacists, neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and other far-right social media users.

    On Tuesday, Trump delivered his first State of the Union, the annual speech the president presents to a joint session of the United States Congress.

    In the speech, Trump vowed to protect US citizens because "Americans are dreamers, too", referring to the name for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

    Under that policy, undocumented immigrants who arrived as children are allowed to remain in the country for a certain period. DACA was introduced in 2012 by Trump's predecessor, former President Barack Obama. Trump announced he was ending the programme last year, giving Congress until March to come up with a permanent way to protect nearly 800,000 DACA recipients.

    White supremacists quickly took to social media to comment on the president's comments, with many of them praising the characterisation of Americans as "dreamers".

    In a Twitter post, David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a racist organisation popular in the southern US for over a century after slavery ended in the 1860s, thanked the president.

    During Trump's electoral campaign in 2016, he came under fire for hesitancy to disavow Duke, who had pledged his support for the then-Republican candidate.

    In an interview with CNN, Trump had said of Duke and other white supremacists who endorsed him: "You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about."

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    Following widespread condemnation, he said: "I don't need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn't want his endorsement."

    'We actually elected this man'

    White supremacist Richard Spencer, who did offer some critiques of the president's speech, also celebrated Trump's comments on migration.

    Spencer is a leading figure in the alt-right, a loosely knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

    Although there have been cracks in the alt-right's support for Trump, the movement rallied around his electoral campaign and have supported his attempts to curb immigration.

    At the same time, Spencer dismissed Trump's calls for unity. "We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag," Trump declared.

    Spencer responded on Twitter saying: "Do we really?"

    Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, bragged that the far right helped get Trump into office on GAB, another social media network that has become popular with far-right users who have been kicked off Twitter and Facebook for violating hate speech guidelines.

    "Anytime one of these official events happens, I'm always jarred by the fact that we actually elected this man President of the United States of America," Anglin wrote.

    Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin bragged of his movement's role in electing Trump [Screenshot] 

    Anglin's Daily Stormer has struggled to maintain a site host provider since the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.

    That rally saw white supremacist James Alex Fields allegedly plough his car into a march and kill 32-year-old anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer, injuring dozens more.

    Following the deadly incident, Anglin's website was forced to relocate from GoDaddy, a web hosting service, after an article described Heyer as a "fat skank".

    Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at the InfoWars conspiracy theory website, also joined the chorus of far-right commentators applauding Trump online.

    Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theorist and far-right commentator, described Tuesday as "a good day for the good guys" in response to Trump's address.

    Cernovich is affiliated with the "alt-light", a far-right, pro-Trump movement that avoids the open white supremacy of the alt-right and advocates civic nationalism.

    White supremacist killings 'double' 

    Since he took office, many of Trump's policies - attempting to ban visitors from Muslim-majority countries and limiting immigration, among others - have enjoyed widespread support among members of the far right. 

    While the president has repeatedly taken to Twitter to rail against violence allegedly committed by Muslims or immigrants, he has been less vocal about deadly incidents carried out by the far-right. 

    This hesitancy has led to widespread criticism over failure to speak out against far-right violence on several occasions. 

    After the violence in Charlottesville, critics decried the president's assertion that there were "very fine people" on both the far-right and anti-fascist sides, which erupted in violent clashes during that demonstration. 

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    Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report that found that the number of people killed by white supremacists had doubled in 2017 when compared to the previous year. 

    Of the 34 people killed by "domestic extremists" last year, at least 18 were killed by white supremacists, the ADL's report noted. 

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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