President-elect Donald Trump on Monday issued a vague denunciation of a white nationalist conference that celebrated his victory with Nazi propaganda, responding in a short statement from his transition team.
“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind, and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American,” the statement reads. “To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”
Over the weekend, a conference of white nationalists met in Washington, D.C., to laud Trump’s victory. The celebration included racist rhetoric and Nazi chants, and attendees gave Nazi salutes.
Richard Spencer, the founder of the white nationalist group that organized the conference, reportedly claimed on Monday that the salutes were meant to be ironic.
Trump has now effectively embraced white nationalism, particularly given his appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist in the White House. Bannon is executive chairman of Brietbart News, a site that regularly airs white nationalist viewpoints.
Trump and his advisers have also barely spoken out against the uptick in racist attacks since his election, an increase surpassing that of the period immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to organizations that track hate crimes.
In his first post-election interview last week, Trump appeared to be unaware of the attacks, saying there was “a small amount.” He then addressed his supporters with what amounted to a slap on the wrist.