As CNN aired President Donald Trump's Phoenix rally speech, white supremacist Richard Spencer offered praise for the president's words on Twitter, saying, among other things, that the president "never denounced the alt-right."
During the Phoenix rally (and contrary to what Spencer is asserting), Trump attempted to defend his critique of white supremacy, bigotry, and the alt-right. He did so by re-iterating his words from his controversial speech that he gave in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy last weekend. However, in attempting to defend his condemnation of white supremacy, Trump very notably left out key phrases from his speech about Charlottesville, including his blaming of "both sides" (white supremacists and counter protesters) for violence and his referring to some of the white nationalist marchers as "very fine people."
Thus, despite Trump (inaccurately) attempting to defend his critique of white supremacy during his Phoenix rally, Spencer, a white nationalist and editor of altright.com, praised Trump for "never denouncing the alt-right. Perhaps he was referring to Trump's prior words about Charlottesville that he glaringly eliminated from his speech in Phoenix on Tuesday.
In addition to his commentary about Trump's failure to denounce the alt-right, Spencer also offered heaps of further praise for Trump's Phoenix rally speech on Twitter.
In one tweet, Spencer praised the president's "warmth," saying "Trump's warmth reminds me why I liked him and believed in him. A decent man speaking to decent Americans." Spencer also asserted that he believes Trump is now acting in a way similar to that of presidential candidate Trump, saying "Trump is fully back in 2016 mode. Ballsy."
Furthermore, Spencer also praised Trump several times for what he believed was Trump's denouncing of Antifa, the anti-fascist counter protesters who were present at the Charlottesville rally. He went on to commend Trump for accusing the media of "fomenting" political and social divisions, saying "Trump recognizes that the leftist media is trying to destroy the American nation, coddles Antifa."
Spencer's words certainly do not constitute the first time that he has praised Trump. Indeed, last week, following Trump's highly controversial Charlottesville speech, The Atlantic reported that Spencer had strongly commended Trump, saying,
Really proud of him ... He bucked the narrative of Alt-Right violence, and made a statement that is fair and down to earth. C’ville could have hosted a peaceful rally — just like our event in May — if the police and mayor had done their jobs. Charlottesville needed to police the streets and police the antifa, whose organizations are dedicated to violence ... He was calling it like he saw it ... He endorsed nothing. He was being honest.
The fact that an avowed white nationalist is continually offering praise for Trump's words, in regards to the Phoenix rally, Charlottesville, and beyond, is certainly disconcerting, to say the very least. It would behoove Trump to take note of who exactly is praising his words — and who is condemning them — and perhaps more fully realize the implications of his rhetoric and actions.