White supremacist Richard Spencer has announced he is voting for Joe Biden – only for Biden’s campaign manager to say his ‘absolutely repugnant’ views were ‘10,000 percent unwelcome here’.
Spencer, 42, tweeted on Monday that he was abandoning Donald Trump, describing the president as ‘an obvious disaster’.
‘The MAGA/Alt-Right moment is over,’ he tweeted.
‘I made mistakes; Trump is an obvious disaster; but mainly the paradigm contained flaws that we now are able to perceive. And it needs to end.’
The neo-Nazi told his 81,000 followers that they should ‘be patient.’
He added: ‘We’ll have another day in the sun. We need to recover and return in a new form.’
Asked by another Twitter user how he intended to vote, he replied: ‘I plan to vote for Biden and a straight democratic ticket.
‘It’s not based on “accelerationism” or anything like that; the liberals are clearly more competent people.’
His support was rejected the same day by Biden’s team.
‘When Joe Biden says we are in a battle for the soul of our nation against vile forces of hate who have come crawling out from under rocks, you are the epitome of what he means,’ tweeted Andrew Bates, the director of rapid response for the campaign.
‘What you stand for is absolutely repugnant.
‘Your support is 10,000% percent unwelcome here.’
Spencer popularized the term ‘alt right’ to describe a politics that combined racist white nationalism, isolationism and criticism of mainstream conservatism.
From 2011 he was based in Whitefish, Montana, from where he edited and published a new online magazine, Alternative Right, and soon took over the National Policy Institute – a white identity think tank.
Alt right support for the 2016 Trump campaign, and Spencer’s veneer of civility – largely avoiding crude slurs and the markers of previous neo-Nazi subcultures – allowed Spencer to gain media coverage and a hearing in some mainstream outlets.
Before the 2016 election, Spencer wrote on Twitter: ‘We have a candidate for President who’s demystifying ‘racism’ and the financial power structure.
‘No matter what happens, I will be profoundly grateful to Donald Trump for the rest of my life.’
Spencer shot to national attention in 2016 after shouting ‘Hail Trump!’ and being greeted with Nazi salutes at an event in Washington shortly after Trump was elected.
On Inauguration Day, his profile only rose when he was punched in the head during a live television interview with an Australian broadcaster.
As recently as July 2019 Spencer was interviewed on CNN.
Spencer’s endorsement of Biden draws parallels with the endorsement of Trump from David Duke, a KKK former grand wizard.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump was repeatedly asked about Duke’s support, but insisted he had no idea who he was.
When asked on CNN in February 2016 if he would disavow the support of the KKK and other white supremacist groups, as the Anti-Defamation League has urged him to do, Trump said that he would first need to research the groups.
‘If you would send me a list of groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong,’ Trump said.
‘You may have groups in there that are totally fine. It would be very unfair. So give me a list of groups and I’ll let you know.’
Two days later, he finally tweeted about Duke: ‘I disavow, OK?’
Duke, however, has stayed loyal.
In a series of tweets in July, he reissued that endorsement – but suggested that Fox News host Tucker Carlson replace Mike Pence as vice president.
‘Trump & Tucker is the only way to stop the commie Bolsheviks! It is the only path to beat them! #TrumpTucker2020,’ he tweeted.