Saturday, May 4, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He put the presidential seal of approval on a Canadian white nationalist troll.

Trump retweeted Lauren Southern to his Twitter audience of tens of millions today, as part of his ongoing campaign to convince his base that they are the victims of social media companies. (Some of them are, although not the way Trump means.)

Southern's brief career has involved trolling transgender people, claiming that the Black Lives Matter movement has "killed more people than the Klan," and saying that rape only goes unpunished in "third world countries." She was refused entry to the UK last year for inciting violence against Muslims on a previous visit. 

Southern also made a movie promoting a false conspiracy theory that has the South African government committing "white genocide." (Trump was apparently fooled by the buzz around it and tweeted about that, too.)

It's possible Trump actually believes that Twitter and Facebook are targeting conservatives rather than threats of violence and hate speech. (Or he may think that to be conservative is to make threats and embrace white supremacy.) 

But more than that, he may feel he can't afford to lose a single supporter in the 2020 election, even if it means cozying up to white nationalists—and he may be right

How is this a bad thing?

  • Conservatives who voted for Trump might not like being lumped in with white supremacists, internet trolls, and Klan apologists.
  • What dignity the office of the presidency still has left is more important than Trump's poll numbers.