Richard Spencer, one of the loudest voices in the so-called “alt-right” movement and the head of the white nationalist thinktank the National Policy Institute, was punched in the face on the day of President Trump’s inauguration during a live interview, and proceeded to use the incident to argue that his critics are violent cowards.
Spencer said in a video he posted on Twitter that as he gave the interview, several people began circling him, including an African-American man who did a “Sieg Heil” salute to mock him. Others asked if he was a Neo-Nazi, which he denied. When a woman asked him if he liked black people, Spencer replied, “Yeah, sure.”
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Then a man whose face was disguised suddenly popped into the shot to slug Spencer. “He came out of nowhere and and punched me and he didn’t really land one… it’s not a big deal… it didn’t really land and it didn’t hurt that much,” Spencer said. “This is who these people are. These are these total cowards that we’re dealing with.”
One reason people may have thought Richard Spencer is a Neo-Nazi is that at an alt-right gathering soon after Trump’s election, Spencer led a crowd in calling out, “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” He added, “Hail victory!,” the English translation of “Sieg Heil!”
He also said, “To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an an explorer and a conqueror.”
Furthermore, Richard Spencer’s political stances tend to revolve around the idea that the U.S. is first and foremost a nation for white people. The Radix Journal, which Spencer runs, has also published several articles discussing why the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.are antithetical to those of white nationalism.
At the moment he was punched, Spencer was explaining why he was wearing a pin of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character who has been usurped as a symbol of the alt-right movement.