U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East scored him points in the mainstream media, but profoundly peeved his earliest supporters, the so-called “alt-right,” who had arguably propelled him into the presidency.
That images of Trump sword-dancing with Saudis, in a gesture to the Sunni Muslim world, and worshipping at the Western Wall, in a gesture to Jews, should irk the far-right in American politics is no surprise.
“Cucks be like, WTF, we love Trump now!” tweeted Richard Spencer, alt-right leader and white nationalist on Tuesday, demonstrating his frustration at the satisfaction he suspects liberals will feel at the sight of Trump visiting the Wall (“cuck” derives from “cuckold”).
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Spencer also retweeted a tweet from the “Boatsinker,” which captioned Trump’s visit to the Western Wall as “Wrong wall, retard” – referring to a core issue of the alt-right’s support for Trump: his pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ann Coulter, who had recently criticized Trump for not sticking to his hard-line immigration record, tweeted, “Wailing Wall the usual photo op, but Trump should visit Israel's BORDER wall. Force the press to report that it's up and it works.”
Former KKK leader and Louisiana politician David Duke captioned the photo of Trump at the Western Wall, in real time on Monday: “Rise of the good Goy.”
Mike Cernovich, the so-called voice of the alt-right (who Donald Trump Jr. recently said deserves a Pulitzer), criticized Trump’s trip, killing two birds with one tweet: “Saudi funded ISIS takes credit for #Manchester. But we need to take out Assad and Iran, because Russia,” Cernovich tweeted Tuesday, referring to Trump’s strong rhetoric against Assad and Iran while in Israel.
Cernovich later ripped Trump for agreeing to sell $110-billion worth of weapons to the Saudis, tweeting, “Saudi Arabia remains the world's top exporter of terrorism. If you think an arms deal will make me stop saying truth, sorry for you.”
Actually, the alt-right and Trump have been on the outs for some time now. The slide was set off by the rising influence of Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka at the expense of Steve Bannon, the alt-right’s perceived "guy in the White House."
But it was Trump’s Tomahawk missile airstrike on Syria in early April that prompted the first real onslaught of heavy criticism from alt-right leaders, accusing Kushner and Ivanka of pushing Trump to war.
Just before that U.S. airstrike on Syria, Trump’s old friend Roger Stone, a conspiracy theory aficionado, remarked that the various accusations surrounding Trump “all boil down to whether or not we want to go to war over Syria." Meaning, that Trump’s enemies want him out of office so they can start a war, and his supporters think he will protect them from a war-hungry establishment. Fast-forward to now: Stone tweeted that Trump’s Saudi visit made him want to “puke,” adding “#Jared’sIdea.”
Trip Brennan in Newsweek explains that alt-right leaders, from Mike Enoch (founder of the white nationalist website The Right Stuff and co-host of the Daily Shoah podcast) to Richard Spencer to Kevin MacDonald (former psychology professor and white nationalist), all root their political views in an anti-war stance, that is in turn based on the belief that Jews had coerced neoconservatives into recent wars.
“I have been anti-war my whole political life. It’s the thing that got me interested in politics, when the Iraq War was starting, the opposition to George W. Bush’s war,” Enoch told Newsweek.
Anti-war to pro-war transformation
The alt-right and non-establishment fell for Trump during the campaign when he attacked George W. Bush’s foreign policy, calling the war in Iraq the “worst decision ever,” and accusing the former U.S. president of lying.
During the 2016 election, Cernovich tweeted this poll, “Which candidate for President has sold weapons and arms to Saudi Arabia, where gays are executed? #AltRight.” For which 94 percent of his Twitter followers responded “Sick Hillary” and only 4% responded Donald Trump.
All of which makes Trump’s massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia and his address to the Muslim world so difficult for alt-right leaders to swallow.
Meanwhile, in the mainstream media, CBS’ Bob Schieffer praised Trump’s speech in Riyadh, saying he sounded presidential, while other commentators wrote Trump sounded exactly like George W. Bush.
Elliot Abrams, one of the founders of neoconservatism who served under presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and who was denied a job in the Trump White House by Bannon, praised Trump’s speech: “I think he comes out looking better not only as presidential, but as reaching out to Muslim leaders from around the world.”
It’s enough to make an alt-right leader cry.