If you judge a president by the company he retweets, well, then Donald Trump’s a racist monster. But you knew that. Here are a few of the genuinely deplorable people to whom the commander in chief decided 41 million followers should pay more attention, from conspiracy theorists to white nationalists and even one Axis dictator.
So when you are under fire for saying a racist demonstration included “good people,” how do you handle the fallout? How about recounting a coded racist tweet by a supporter/conspiracy theorist. Amid the Charlottesville fallout, Trump retweeted this message by Jack Posobiec questioning why the media covers hate rallies instead of shootings in dreaded “Chicago.”
Posobiec, an organizer of the DeploraBall, was already notable for particularly far-out and dishonest attempts to disparage Hillary Clinton, live-streaming a personal investigation of PizzaGate and infiltrating a Trump protest carrying a “Rape Melania” banner. He’s proudly boasted about calling Clinton aide Huma Abedin part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Oh, and he has White House press credentials.
The homophobic radio host came out early as a Trump supporter, and that was enough for Trump to start retweeting Wayne DuPree with some regularity in 2015, with everything from “fantastic guy” endorsements to apologist posts about Trump’s Islamophobia. DuPree previously equated LGBT individuals with “pedophiles, zoophiles, necrophiles, etc.”
Trump earned scorn from the press after retweeting a meme taking video of a younger Trump wrestling WWE founder Vince McMahon and putting a CNN logo as his opponent’s head. After CNN ferreted out the maker of the meme, reporters realized HanAssholeSolo had a long history of anti-Semitic and racist comments on Reddit. It wasn’t the first time the user had gone after the network, and he once published a list of CNN employees he believed were Jewish and imposed six-pointed stars on the head shots. Fearing his name becoming public, the user issued a lengthy post apologizing for his “trolling.” CNN chose not to publish his name.
This sci-fi writer and general bigot got the thrill of a Trump retweet in March of 2016. After an image of a Trump supporter giving a Nazi salute went viral, Beale, tweeting as Vox Day, falsely called the person pictured a Bernie Sanders agent, a theory Trump sarcastically endorsed, stating “Big Surprise. However, the media will never run with this.” Previously, Beale has tweeted that “homosexuality is a birth defect” and that good fathers should stop their daughters from dating blacks, according to The New Republic.
Donald Trump in September thought a tweet by “Mike,” a Twitter user with the account Fuctupmind, was funny enough to share. It included a video depicting the president striking Hillary Clinton with a golf ball and the caption “Donald Trump’s amazing golf swing #CrookedHillary.”
Get it? Violence against women is hilarious. But that’s hardly the worst thing in this fuctup feed, which also includes posts suggesting all Muslims dance at the news of terror attacks and the assertion “Normal people don’t like Islam.” And just for fun, his Twitter bio includes #SethRich, a regularly debunked Clinton conspiracy theory about a deceased staffer being killed for leaking emails.
Just in case anyone suggests Trump can’t always know the agenda of those he retweets, user Bob Whitaker posts with the handle WhiteGenocideTM, using a phrase he helped popularize among modern racists. In January 2016, Trump retweeted a jab at primary opponent Jeb Bush and the handle of the original poster immediately caught people’s attention. The account has since been suspended, but a CNN article on WhiteGenocideTM indicates the old account’s profile included a link to a pro-Hitler documentary and a picture of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell.
Known for a remarkable ability to be the first reply to many of Donald Trump’s tweets back in the primary days, Neil Turner may well be a bot, but more certainly, the account is a tool of white nationalists. With a bio that states “WhiteGenocide is real,” according to Politico, the account was retweeted regularly by The Donald before it was suspended.
This user, who tweets as keksec_org and writes for the alt-right site Vanguard 14, at one point was among Donald Trump’s favorite people to retweet, usually with innocuous endorsements like “I truly believe you are the best to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.” But Talking Points Memo in October 2015 noted the user had a profile including white nationalist language and the phrase “Race War when?” The user would also regularly retweet racist Dutch pol Geert Wilders and once referenced to the “inferior mind of the African American negro.” The account, of course, has since been suspended.
YouTube wrestler Jerry Travone in August, around the time of the solar eclipse, tweeted out a meme of Donald Trump eclipsing a black-and-white image of Barack Obama, which many decried as racist. What other gems lay in Travone’s feed? Misogyny and white paranoia for one. And his YouTube includes the occasional Colin Kaepernick rant.
OK, so this was more a case of Trump getting duped by a fake account, but he endorsed the notorious dictator’s sentiments anyway. In February 2016, Trump retweeted, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” a famous quote by Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. The post tagged Trump to get his attention before earning a retweet, and was apparently from a parody account run by Gawker. But he later told Meet the Press he didn’t care who said it first, it “was a very good quote.”
After the release of Hillary Clinton’s What Happened memoir, Trump retweeted a meme posted by Twitter user Team_Trump45, who also has a history of posting conspiracy theories and homophobic taunts of other politicians. Weeks after the retweet, for example, Team_Trump45, amid the Kevin Spacey scandal, accused Ohio Gov. John Kasich of being a closeted gay.
If you’ve never heard of InfoWars, good for you. But every wacky conspiracy theorist in the world has probably poked around the hub of insanity, where editors assert 9/11 was an inside job, the Newtown shootings were a “false flag” faked by the government as an excuse to get your guns, and Pizzagate is actually a thing. And just weeks before the election last year, Trump retweeted editor at large Paul Joseph Watson’s swipe at Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant and one of the women who has accused Trump of sexual assault.
The Breitbart writer since 2015 has pushed the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration provided support for al Qaeda in Iraq in the early days of ISIS, based on an intelligence memo unearthed in 2015 that identified al Qaeda as an opposition group to Syrian leader Bashar Assad. Obama administration officials have stated clearly that no support was given, but that didn’t stop Donald Trump (on the day of the Pulse attack!) from tweeting out Howley’s debunked assertions.
Retweeting Michael Flynn’s work may pale compared to the poor decision to actually hire the guy into Trump’s administration. He may be best known today as the first major resignation of the Trump era and one of the focuses of Bob Mueller’s Russia investigation, but back in August 2016, when Trump retweeted a Flynn call for an America First foreign policy, well, he was already a disgraced intelligence leader fired by the Obama administration.
The cowriter of that retweeted Michael Flynn op-ed, incidentally, may be less notorious but also boasts a questionable history in the intelligence world. The Nation noted that Keith Kellogg served as director of operations for the derided Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority and later served as president of Abraxas, a secretive intelligence contractor.
It feels so long ago, but one of the most clearly racist messages Trump dog-whistled out in the early days of his campaign came with the tweet of a graphic with wildly inaccurate stats regarding black-on-white crime. So where did the information come from?
Little Green Footballs found the earliest post of the meme on a Twitter feed for this Nazi-sympathetic user, who also in the official Twitter bio said we “should have listened to the little Austrian chap with the little mustache.” The account was disabled immediately after reports came out identifying it as the source of the meme.
This self-described truth-seeker won a retweet from the commander in chief for posting a gif of the ‘Trump Train’ running over a CNN reporter. Since this happened right after a white nationalist murdered a protester in Charlottesville by running her over with a car, many considered the post in bad taste. But SLand would later say she intended the post to be of CNN trying to stop the train. Such subtleties aside, she also posted that Charlottesville was all a “false flag” incited by paid actors pretending to be members of the Ku Klux Klan.