U.S. President Donald Trump is the subject of another flattering Twitter hashtag after retweeting a video promoting white supremacy. On Sunday, Trump shared a clip of a June 14 rally held in his honour at the Villages, a retirement home in Florida. In the first few second of the video, a man driving a golf cart past the group of supporters and yelling “White power!” at them. Another can be heard loudly agreeing, yelling back “Yeah, white power!” The video was up for three hours on the president’s page before it was taken down and later shared by other accounts.
Prior to deleting the tweet, Trump praised the crowd, writing "Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!" White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere was quick to reply to the controversial tweet, noting in a released statement that "President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.”
But for the many who watched the video, the impossibly unsubtle chants of "white power" are inexcusable. As a result of Trump’s tweet and his praise of the actions caught on camera, #TrumpIsARacist began trending on the social media platform. Users slammed the president for applauding the clearly racist action, leading to a reexamination of how Trump has touted practices of fascism and white supremacy in recent months.
Trump has long looked down on communities of colour going against his agenda, ignoring the cries of thousands of protestors who, for weeks, have stood against police brutality of Black people in America. However, just a few months ago, at the peak of COVID-19, Trump was praising protesters against statewide lockdowns. Those protestors, who were mostly white and donning MAGA hats, stood outside the homes of state leaders with rifles and other firearms. They made open threats and Trump referred to them in press conferences as "great people." But examples where the U.S. president has supported white supremacy aren't all recent either: In 2017, he called white nationalists who wreaked havoc during the Charlottesville rallies “very fine people.”
Meanwhile, after the death of George Floyd and countless other unarmed Black folks at the hands of police, Trump sided with law enforcement, threatening to call in the National Guard, and supported tear gassing and rubber bullets. He referred to Black Lives Matter protesters “hoodlums” and “anarchists,” and vowed to support the racist monuments they sought to topple over the lives lost that they continue to fight for.
Ahead of November’s U.S. presidential election, Trump supporters must now grapple with his outright racism and support of white supremacy as the country continues to see massive unrest and a cry for change.
Former Vice President and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted on Sunday in response to the video,“Today the President shared a video of people shouting “white power” and said they were “great.” Just like he did after Charlottesville. We’re in a battle for the soul of the nation — and the President has picked a side. But make no mistake: it’s a battle we will win.”