White Nationalist Leader Turns on Trump, Warns That Alt-Right Won't Be 'Retarded Cousin' of Mainstream Conservatives

Metropolitan Police Department officers create a barrier around white nationalists and neo-Nazis as they rally in front of the White House on December 3. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The "alt-right" movement, which calls for limited immigration, mass deportations and a new state populated only by whites, played a role in helping Donald Trump win the White House. Today, some members of the movement are at a crossroads with the president, claiming he has abandoned their cause.

"I believe the radical energies and deep yearning for change that flowed into the Trump campaign in 2015 and 2016 are now receding with the tide," Brad Griffin, a self-described Southern Nationalist, wrote on his blog, Occidental Dissent. "I'm confident the Democrats will come roaring back in the 2018 midterms. I don't want to be associated with 'MAGA' because our policies were discarded by the Trump administration."

Griffin, who helped organize a so-called White Lives Matter rally in Tennessee in October and publishes under the pseudonym Hunter Wallace, has earned a reputation for being among the more cogent and discerning commentators in the white nationalist community. He's also among the bluntest when describing the movement's shortcomings. Among his gripes with the president, Griffin mentioned in his post the airstrike on Syria in April, the attempt to undo health care reform, the tax reform effort and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's promises to make a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The "Trump administration has chosen the Republican establishment," Griffin argued.

He added: "In 2017, the Trump administration didn't want anything to do with us and dropped us like a hot potato after the election."

In his post, Griffin reminded readers of a warning he gave prior to Trump taking power, suggesting that the alt-right movement would not be content to be "locked in the basement" of mainstream conservatism and "treated like a retarded cousin for the next four years." Griffin suggested that this vision was fulfilled in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, when large numbers of white nationalists and neo-Nazis assembled before the rally devolved into violence. The alt-right has struggled to mobilize in public following Charlottesville, however, and Griffin suggested that people will see less "activism" from the alt-right in 2018.

Such feelings of disillusionment surrounding Trump are not isolated in the white nationalist movement by any means. On Alt-Right Politics, a podcast co-hosted by Richard Spencer, one of the most visible faces of the movement, he and others have been critical of Trump for ignoring his promise to build a wall along the southern border. The verdict in the Kate Steinle trial, wherein undocumented Mexican immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of first- and second-degree murder charges in the death of the white woman, was viewed as a rallying cry for members of the alt-right. They have argued that Trump insufficiently addressed their concerns about Steinle's case.