When President Trump authorized the use of military force against Syria — firing nearly 60 tomahawk missiles at one of Assad’s airbases — his white nationalist fans cried foul, rallying around the hashtag #NoMoreJewishWars to express their disapproval. Mike Peinovich, founder of The Right Stuff, angrily accused the President of being a “Jew puppet” and declared that he would no longer defend him.
After all, white nationalists were enthusiastic about Trump in part because of his vow to put America “first,” and stay out of the disastrous foreign wars and bombing campaigns that marked the Bush and Obama years. Trump’s hardline stance on immigration and quasi-isolationist take on foreign policy was what made him so attractive to white nationalists, Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists, and other figures on the political fringes.
Viewing Trump’s actions as a betrayal of his campaign promises, a cadre of alt-right demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to protest further acts of military aggression. Led by National Policy Institute president Richard Spencer, several well-dressed Nazis attended the protest, carrying placards with slogans like “NO MORE WARS 4 ISRAEL” and “WE WANT WALLS NOT WARS.” Most of them looked like roofie-packing frat bros and sported high-and-tight “fashy” haircuts.
Spencer, megaphone in hand and flanked by his body guard, declared, “We come here with a message for Donald Trump! We come here with a message to the world! Donald Trump, there are people out there who opposed you every step of the way! They wanted Hillary as president over you, and yet now you are doing their bidding! You are about to engage in their insane, stupid wars! You are about to destroy your presidency over what?”
“This presidency was already destroyed!” shouted Daryle Lamont Jenkins, one of several anti-fascist counterprotesters in attendance. As head of the anti-racist One Peoples Project the 48-year-old Jenkins specializes in naming and shaming white racists and anti-Semites, but seemed content to just heckle Spencer and his crew.
Mike Peinovich stood to Spencer’s left, dressed in a flannel shirt and zip up vest. In his hands was a sign depicting an enlarged screen shot of one of Trump’s tweets condemning Obama’s intervention in Syria. “Wait, wait, wait, you wanted the bombing six months earlier, is that right?” Peinovich asked Jenkins. “I did not want any bombing,” Jenkins shot back. “I thought that Obama was wrong too!”
Peinovich replied that he could “agree with [Jenkins] there,” and attempted to goad Jenkins into conceding that they were, in this instance, on the same side. The anti-racist activist wasn’t having it. “No, because you’re fascists. We don’t stand on your side!” he shot back. Spencer mumbled something to Peinovich about refraining from further arguments with Jenkins. “Yeah, screw this guy…,” Peinovich muttered.
An unidentified cameraman stood nearby, filming Spencer and Peinovich with his cell phone at close range. The pair taunted him because, they said, his hands were shaking — perhaps a sign of an adrenaline rush. He moved on to a young man on Spencer’s right, holding a large sign with the anti-Semitic caption “OY VEY JARED! THE GOYIM KNOW.” The “Jared” in question, of course, is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Jewish real estate developer-cum-adviser whom alt-right trolls scapegoated for the attack on the Syrian airbase.
The young man wore a black coat over a t-shirt depicting the SS-TV’s Death’s Head symbol — a skull and crossbones — outfitted with sunglasses and sporting the phrase “SURF THE KALI YUGA” — a reference to fascist philosopher Julius Evola. I recognized the shirt as one that was once sold by American Vanguard — a white supremacist hate group headquartered in California but with chapters in several states.
At first, he raised and lowered his sign — as if he were trying to conceal his face — but soon joined in the taunting himself. “Back up,” he hissed at the cameraman. “You’re fucking trembling. You’re a fucking pussy.” The cameraman just stood, continuing to film him.
Meanwhile, Richard Spencer continued to drone on. About a “mutually beneficial relationship” with the Assad regime. About a “proxy war” with Russia. “This rally was sponsored by the alt-right!” he bellowed. “But this rally is open to anyone! Anyone who genuinely wants peace and diplomacy in the world, this rally is open to them!”
Yes, Richard Spencer and his alt-right cohorts are trying to masquerade as peace-loving protesters — an entirely unconvincing display, given the movement’s desire to create their own all-white ethnostate. That the creation of any such state would almost certainly involve violence is seemingly lost on them. When they’re in the company of “normies,” that is. Then it’s suits and ties and calls for peace and and the usual noise about “white advocacy.”
Spencer has called for a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of the Fatherland, but has appeared on an anti-Semitic radio program alongside Andrew Anglin and Mike Peinovich. During that podcast, the revoltingly titled Between Two Lampshades, Spencer gushed over Madison Grant and his Immigration Act of 1924 — a piece of legislation which established strict racial and ethnic quotas. He lauded abortion as “ultimately eugenic” when exclusively practiced by black and brown communities.
Peinovich routinely denigrates racial minorities as “mud people” and accuses Muslims of “engaging in colonialism” by immigrating to predominantly white countries. One recent guest on his Daily Shoah podcast enthusiastically supported the wholesale slaughter of black people across the planet. That guest, the pseudonymous Jayoh De La Rey, called himself an “unironic exterminationist” and attacked blacks as “jungle people” and “fucking monkeys.” There was certainly no complaint from Peinovich on that point.
The rest of Spencer’s speech was similarly transparent, asking the crowd whether Trump was elected “for Jared Kushner” or for “Ivanka’s feels.” Each time the crowd shouted an enthusiastic “No!” while Jenkins’ heckling continued unabated, and Spencer tried his best to ignore it, his eyes darting back and forth.
Shortly thereafter a crowd of black-clad “antifa” (anti-fascists) marched onto the scene, holding up a large banner emblazoned with slogans like “NO WAR, NO NAZIS” and “THE FUTURE IS FEMINIST.” The alt-right demonstrators greeted them by shouting “Here comes the pro-war Left!”, while the antifas chanted “Fuck Richard Spencer!” and “No Nazis! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.!”
Soon the chants became a noisy, indistinguishable mess, with both groups shouting at one another — the alt-right’s first mistake was trying to out-chant a group of anarchists. Small scuffles broke out, prompting the police officers — who were previously milling about — to form an ad hoc human partition between them. A new chant began: “Nazi scum off our streets!” “We’re not going anywhere!” Spencer yelled back, before leading his fellow racists in chants of “Make America great again!” and “Commies go home!”
Peinovich was next on the megaphone. “We supported Donald Trump for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones was we wanted an end to neocon wars!” He complained that Trump “lied” to them and “betrayed” them. “And here we have the pro-war Left, the shills for the establishment, the anti-white shills for the establishment Left that want nothing more than neocon policy in the Middle East!” he barked. “Hillary supporters! That’s what we have! That’s what you are!”
Things finally came to a head when Spencer was “glitterbombed” by one antifa activist who was apparently tackled in retaliation. Rumors flew that Spencer, who was infamously sucker punched during a live interview in January, was on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich, but no footage is available to corroborate this. And, after pleading with cops to be taken to a “safe place,” Spencer fled the scene altogether — chased away by genuine opponents of war and American imperialism, who clearly didn’t take kindly to folks whose disdain for military aggression is wedded to a poisonous racial ideology.