Rise of the ‘alt-right’: Clinton accuses Trump of white nationalist ties and stoking racial resentment

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2016, 10:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2016, 9:26pm

Hillary Clinton launched into a blistering new line of attack against Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing him of helping foment racial hatred and refashioning the Republican Party as a welcome home for white nationalists.

In unrestrained language during an address in Reno, Nevada, Clinton took aim at Trump’s affiliations with the so-called alt-right movement, a loosely organised network of anti-establishment activists on the right that helped fuel the GOP presidential nominee’s rise. The largely online movement includes legions of openly racist and anti-Semitic activists who operate in what Clinton described as the “far dark reaches of the internet.”

The alt-right has long cheered Trump, but his ties to the movement intensified with his latest campaign shake-up. Stephen Bannon, who led the right-wing website Breitbart News, is now running Trump’s campaign.

“There’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it arising from racial resentment,” Clinton said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it and giving it a national megaphone until now.”

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Clinton called out Trump for retweeting white supremacists, for posting online an attack of her widely perceived as anti-Semitic — it included a Star of David imposed over piles of dollar bills — and for initially selecting a white-nationalist leader as a convention delegate from California.

“When Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them,” Clinton said. “Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones.”

During his own speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, just before Clinton spoke, Trump accused Clinton of making a desperation play, as she seeks to deflect attention from the controversies involving her private email server and questions about whether big donors to the Clinton Foundation got special access to her when she was secretary of State.

“It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook,” Trump said. “When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. … Hillary Clinton isn’t just attacking me. She is attacking all of the decent people of all backgrounds who support this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime movement.”

Trump’s remarks came a day after he had branded Clinton “a bigot”.