The Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper, the Crusader, has written a gushing front-page article about the importance of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
The importance to white supremacists, that is.
The KKK just formally endorsed Trump, citing their shared values. Don't forget this when you choose what side of history you want to be on. pic.twitter.com/0aiXIcfeif— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) November 1, 2016
This has been described by some outlets as an “official endorsement,” but it’s not clear that it was meant as such. (It’s bylined by an individual writer, not an editorial board, and it doesn’t actually use the word “endorse” or specifically try to convince readers to vote for Trump.)
What is clear is that the article features a photo of Trump, uses his campaign slogan as a headline, and makes an impassioned case for why his campaign slogan — “Make America Great Again” — should resonate with white supremacists.
The author interprets the phrase in the same way many of Trump’s critics have: as a promise to return to a version of this country that was less diverse and where the rights of racial and religious minorities weren’t prioritized. The author, Thomas Robb, writes:
“Make American Great Again!” It is a slogan that has been repeatedly used by Donald Trump in his campaign for the presidency. You can see it on the shirts, buttons, posters and ball caps such as the one being worn here by Trump speaking at a recent rally . . . But can it happen? Can America really be great again? This is what we will soon found out! While Trump wants to make America great again, we have to ask ourselves, What made America great in the first place? The short answer to that is simple. America was great not because of what our forefathers did — but because of who are forefathers were, America was founded as a White Christian Republic. And as a White Christian Republic it became great.
The gushing tribute to “Make America Great Again” focuses as much on homophobia and transphobia as it does white supremacy, supporting the case that the country is in distress with statements like, “Who would have thought that same-sex marriage would be legally (forcibly) placed upon us?”; “President Obama has ordered through the justice department that all bathrooms in public schools be gender neutral”; and “Sexual deviants like Bruce Jenner are praised for their courage while a white nationalist who says nothing more than ‘Love your people’ is treated like the scum of the earth.”
But it closes with a theme more closely linked to primary idea that animates the KKK: a warning by the author that the “Make America Great Again” message must be heeded because white Americans are under threat. “We are in the day promised by the prophet Malachi when it tells us that in this final day as White Genocide seems to be closing its jaws around us,” Robb writes.
The official newspaper of the KKK raving about the message of a candidate for president should be shocking. Unfortunately, this election cycle, it’s just additional confirmation of what’s already been well-established: Trump’s message resonates strongly with white supremacists and white nationalists.
Just last week, a report by Mother Jones examined how this group has been generally inspired by Trump’s candidacy:
Trump "may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people," remarked Jared Taylor, who runs a white nationalist website called American Renaissance and once founded a think tank dedicated to "scientifically" proving white superiority. Taylor told us that Trump was the first presidential candidate from a major party ever to earn his support because Trump "is talking about policies that would slow the dispossession of whites. That is something that is very important to me and to all racially conscious white people."
Trump fever quickly spread: Other extremists new to presidential politics openly endorsed Trump, including Don Black, a former grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of the neo-Nazi site Stormfront; Rocky Suhayda, chair of the American Nazi Party; and Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, the successor to David Duke's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Richard Spencer, an emerging leader among a new generation of white nationalists known as the "alt right," declared that Trump "loves white people."
Trump has said he rejects the support of white supremacists. Given the decades-long history of allegations of racism and discrimination against him — not to mention the explicit and coded messages he’s delivered during his campaign —- it’s completely understandable that they can’t bring themselves to reject him.
In response to the Crusader article, the campaign issued the following statement to CNN Tuesday evening: "Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form. This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign.”