Trump Just Echoed Britain's Right Wing Nationalist Assassin

Trump Just Echoed Britain’s Right Wing Nationalist Assassin

Donald Trump tweeted Friday, as he is wont to do. Hardly a newsflash, but his recent tweets may be taking dog whistle messaging to an alarming extreme, following a political assassination in Britain on Thursday.

On June 23rd, Britain will hold a referendum on whether they should stay in the European Union or leave. As polls show the referendum too close to call, and with potentially momentous history hanging in the balance, things have gotten heated. Leaving the EU, or “Brexit” is supported by far right nationalists extremely opposed to immigration (though it is also supported by other groups for more moderate reasons). On Thursday, Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who supported staying in the EU and supported immigrants and refugees, was shot and stabbed to death. Two witnesses reported that the assassin shouted “Britain First” as he murdered the pro-EU politician, activist and 41-year-old mother of two.

Britain First is a far right British nationalist party that opposes immigration, multiculturalism and the so-called “Islamization” of the United Kingdom. Slate reports the killer had ties to white supremacist groups, including a pro-Apartheid group.

Back across the pond, the Republican presidential candidate tweeted twice, Friday, which is arguably his primary mode of public communications. In both tweets he used the ‘hashtag’ phrase #AmericaFirst.

This is not the first time he has used the phrase. “America First” was the theme of a foreign policy (for lack of a better word) speech that he delivered on April 27th. The main points of the speech were that the US is being repeatedly humiliated, we need to retreat from the world, blame Muslims for problems, extort our allies, bully our enemies, allow nuclear proliferation, and not allow nuclear proliferation. That would be keeping “America first.”

In April, CNN published an op-ed by historian Susan Dunn about the unfortunate association “America First” has with an isolationist, right wing, anti-Semitic group founded before World War II,

“It is extremely unfortunate that in his speech Wednesday outlining his foreign policy goals, Donald Trump chose to brand his foreign policy with the noxious slogan ‘America First,’ the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.”

So, it’s not as if his use of “America First” began following the attack in Britain. But he should be aware of the problematic associations with the phrase, yet chose to forge ahead with it. And, in the wake of the assassination, he really must be aware of the fact that it creates the impression of sympathy not only with nationalists in the US, but with a white supremacist driven to murder in the UK. A man who murders a young rising star politician who argued on behalf of Syrian refugees is the kind of man that the Republican presidential candidate wants to associate with? That goes beyond troubling to a dark place. It demands that the Republican party confront him about it.

Trump’s tweets echo Britain’s nationalist assassin

Talking Points Memo reported on Trump’s first tweet Friday because he appeared to be celebrating an image of polls showing him losing. While that’s hilarious, there is a deeper, darker message in the tweet.

In the second tweet, he announced a campaign stop in Phoenix.

Both tweets contained the highly problematic phrase “America First” only a day after an assassin shouted “Britain First” while murdering a pro-multicultural politician.

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.