Donald Trump rejected the beliefs of alt-right movement, telling the New York Times during a meeting on Tuesday “I disavow the group.”
Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement, delivered a speech on Saturday night in Washington D.C. that railed against Jews and said America belongs to white people.
Trump was asked about the conference on Tuesday during a wide-ranging, on-the-record conversation with the Times. Journalist Julie Davis, who was in the room, tweeted that Trump condemned the remarks.
Times editor Dean Baquet asked if Trump feels like he had a hand in energizing the alt-right movement, to which the president-elect answered, “I don’t think so … It’s not a group I want to energize.”
Trump also used his meeting with the Times to defend chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is viewed by many as a pioneer of the alt-right for his ties to conservative website Breitbart.
“If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him,” Trump said, according to Times reporter Maggie Haberman. “I think it’s very hard on him. I think he’s having a hard time with it. Because it’s not him.”
Trump is asked about concerns from minority groups about Breitbart News’s coverage under Steve Bannon. His reply: pic.twitter.com/FBqCGwQpBr
— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) November 22, 2016
Meanwhile, Breitbart’s lead story on Tuesday morning ripped Donald Trump for a “broken promise” to prosecute Hillary Clinton.