Richard B. Spencer, a journalist, editor, white nationalist, and current president and director of the conservative National Policy Institute, has splashed across the headlines this week after video and excerpts of his speech in Washington, D.C., on Saturday were published by The Atlantic. Spencer’s remarks have come under fire and put President-elect Donald Trump’s possible alignment with the “alternative-right” movement into question as he transitions to the White House.
During the speech closing the National Policy Institute’s annual conference held at the Ronald Reagan Building, the 38-year-old Montana native told more than 200 people present: “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”
Video taken of the crowd immediately after Spencer’s victory remarks show several men raising one arm in the air similar to that of the Nazi salute. The clip is likely to be part of a documentary on Spencer The Atlantic plans to release next month.
Spencer, however, reportedly told a PBS producer that the salutes weren’t references to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis.
Richard Spencer just texted me that the Nazi salutes at his Sat speech were “clearly done in a spirit of irony and exuberance.”
— P.J. Tobia (@PJTobia) November 21, 2016
Throughout the speech, according to The Atlantic, Spencer made another direct reference to the Nazis, calling the mainstream media the “Lugenpresse,” a term the Nazis used to foil opponents who spoke out against them.
Spencer, who founded the website AlternativeRight.com (now called Radix) in 2010, also told the crowd: “America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
Among several other statements, that some have called racist and anti-Semitic, Spencer took aim at former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters.
"Her coalition was made up of mutually hostile tribes only united out of a hatred of 'whitey' -- that is to say, out of a hatred of us," Spencer said according to CNN.
Each of those comments falls directly in line with the not-for-profit National Policy Institute's mission statement, which says its “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”
Trump, who recently told those allegedly carrying out hate crimes around the country to "stop" during an interview with "60 Minutes" earlier this month, continues to deflect connections to the white nationalist movement even though his recently named chief strategist Stephen Bannon is considered a major proponent.
Bannon, who headed up Trump’s victorious campaign and was head of conservative site Breitbart News, has previously been accused of anti-Semitism. He claimed in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that the site offers views for a number of groups, including “libertarians,” “the conservative gay community,” and “the anti-establishment,” among others.