On the Nov. 21 edition of CNN‘s “Anderson Cooper 360,” political commentators launched a litany of verbal jabs over President-elect Donald Trump’s white nationalist appeal.
Last Saturday, Nov. 19, president of the National Policy Institute Richard B. Spencer held the organization’s annual conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. For more than 30 minutes, Spencer wowed a crowd of more than 200 white supremacy supporters, claiming that Trump’s victory was a historic win for the white race. He even proclaimed that America was created for and by white people.
“America was, until this past generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance and it belongs to us.”
Immediately following, the media was quick to criticize Trump for not denouncing the group’s support and others in the alt-right movement. And in this recent broadcast of Cooper’s show, pundits continued that onslaught.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ former national press secretary, Symone Sanders, and journalist Peter Beinart were the heavy hitters on the panel. They frequently reminded Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany that he was instrumental in encouraging white nationalists’ current brand of emboldened racism.
However, McEnany did not see it that way. “President-Elect Trump has repeatedly denounced racists more than any candidate in this race,” she says. “If the alt-right thinks they have a friend in the White House, it’s not because of Donald Trump, who repeatedly denounced racism.” She then adds that “liberal commentators who completely take him out of context and gloss over the fact he called out racism” are to blame.
But Beinart refreshes her memory about Trump’s birtherism movement against President Barack Obama. “I really don’t think that’s why they think they have a friend. … Donald Trump spent years claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. I didn’t make that up. I didn’t make up the fact that Donald Trump responded to the San Bernardino attack by calling for a halt of Muslim immigration.”
Furthermore, Sanders points out, Trump has a self-proclaimed white supremacist as his chief strategist.
“In 2016, we have put a white nationalist in the White House with Steve Bannon,” she says. “Steve Bannon, who called Spencer an intellectual leader of the alt-right. … Steve Bannon, who said in August that his platform, Breitbart, was the platform of the alt-right. ”