With his many appeals to nativism, bigotry, and bitter discontent, Donald Trump has enthralled far-right extremists with his campaign for president. According to an investigation by Mother Jones and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, since Trump officially announced his bid in June 2015 he has drawn effusive praise and formal backing from some of the country's most virulent neo-Nazis, white supremacists, militia supporters, and other extremist leaders. They include the head of the American Nazi Party, three former Ku Klux Klansmen, four people involved in a recent armed standoff against federal authorities at an Oregon wildlife refuge, and at least 15 individuals affiliated with organizations described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.
Trump has disavowed none of them.
"We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again," wrote Rocky J. Suhayda, the head of the American Nazi Party, last fall. "Donald Trump's campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that 'our views' are NOT so 'unpopular' as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!"
During the Republican National Convention in July, Trump endorser Andrew Anglin, who runs a neo-Nazi website called the Daily Stormer, wrote: "The biggest story in the filthy kike media has been a few lines from Melania's speech which these Jews claim she stole from monkey Michelle."
Responding to questions about his views by email, Anglin echoed Trump's statements about the 2016 election being "rigged," warning: "If he loses, it is by fraud, and all of these people who are currently supporting him are going to be radicalized." Trump, he said, "will order a putsch."
Others among Trump's extremist endorsers have advocated a violent overthrow of the US government, expressed hatred for blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and Jews, and threatened to "level and demolish every mosque across this country."
Last February, praise for Trump from former Klansman David Duke attracted widespread media attention, eventually spurring Trump to distance himself from the Louisiana political figure. But Trump has not rejected endorsements from any of these other extremists—none of whom have before openly backed a major party nominee for the White House.
Hillary Clinton has accused Trump of "taking hate groups mainstream." In August, Trump declared at a campaign rally, "We will steadfastly reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its ugly forms."
The Trump campaign, however, did not respond to multiple detailed requests for comment about the following list of nearly two dozen extremist endorsers.
Rocky J. Suhayda
Chair of the American Nazi Party
Endorsement: "We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again, at the RIGHT time," Suhayda wrote to Nazi party members in September 2015. "Donald Trump's campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that 'our views' are NOT so 'unpopular' as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!"
In his own words: "In 1952 when I was born, America was a 92% White/European nation—the system controlled media now gloats that there are presently MORE non-White children being born here than White! That in possibly TEN YEARS—White people will be a MINORITY in their own land, due to birthrates and ILLEGAL immigration!" Suhayda wrote in 2015.
Publisher of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer
Endorsement: "Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it's time to deport these people," Anglin said in a June 2015 endorsement. "He is also willing to call them out as criminal rapists, murderers and drug dealers."
In his own words: During the Republican Convention in July, Anglin wrote, "The biggest story in the filthy kike media has been a few lines from Melania's speech which these Jews claim she stole from monkey Michelle. It is absolutely sickening the way these Christ-killing monsters go after this woman, demonstrating their hatred for the beauty of the Aryan woman."
Alex Linder/Vanguard News Network
Founder of the website Vanguard News Network, and a former member of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group
Endorsement: "Only Trump can turn back the brown tide, and thinking Whites know this," stated a VNN post in February 2016. "Is Trump the ideal man? Nope, but he'll do until the ideal man gets here." VNN has also described Trump as "the Last Hope for Whites Before America Turns Brown and Non-Western."
In his own words: "'African-American' is pretty for 'jungle savage,'" Alex Linder wrote in 2005 in The Aryan Alternative. "We normal whites move away from these jungle creatures whenever we can. But the murderous hands of government, guided by Big Jew, again and again and again push us back in with the savages."
Ku Klux Klan-affiliated
Former KKK grand dragon and founder of the white supremacist website Stormfront
Endorsement: In an October 2015 interview with New York, Black said Trump "resonates with many of our people, of course, and with white, middle America, which has been seething for many years now about the immigration issue. It's been ready to boil over for a long time."
In his own words: "Hitler, of course, has been demonized because he lost," Black told Business Insider.
August Kreis III
Former KKK member and former Aryan Nations Minister of Information and Propaganda
Endorsement: Kreis praised Trump publicly in the courtroom during his November 2015 trial for sexual misconduct with a child: "I will always hate the Jew. This government is run by an evil group of people, and, please, vote for Trump!" (He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years.)
In his own words: "ALL that dance to the tune of the jew [sic] should and will be exterminated with the jew!" Kreis once wrote on the Aryan Nations website.
National organizer for the KKK-affiliated Knights Party
Endorsement: In a December 2015 Washington Post interview, Pendergraft said for the first time that Knights Party members were behind Trump: "They like the overall momentum of his rallies and his campaign…They like that he's not willing to back down. He says what he believes and he stands on that."
In her own words: "White people are realizing they are becoming strangers in their own country and they do not have a major political voice speaking for them," Pendergraft wrote in an email responding to questions for this article. "Trump is one example of the alternative-right candidate Knights Party members and supporters have been looking for."
Constitutionalist and militia sympathizer
Endorsement: In April, Riden, who told Mother Jones he has ties to a Tennessee militia, was elected as a Trump delegate.
In his own words: Riden took part in a "Continental Congress" in 2009 that called for abolishing all federal firearms laws and replacing the Department of Homeland Security with citizen militias. He told Mother Jones that government officials who violate the Constitution should be, "the polite word is, eliminated. The harsh word is killed. And they're killed by American citizens with weapons." (In a follow-up interview, Riden walked back these comments; he said he was describing the vision of the Founding Fathers and that he does not advocate violence against current US officials.)
Anti-Islam activist, awaiting sentencing on a federal felony charge related to involvement in the Oregon occupation
Endorsement: Last December, Ritzheimer showed up with a bullhorn at a Trump rally in Arizona, where he expressed strong support for the candidate's proposal "to stop Islamic immigration for a while." He also referred to anti-Trump protesters as "Muslims" and thanked them "for not blowing us up."
In his own words: Ritzheimer said in an online video (since removed), "Just know that we three percent, we militiamen, are standing at the ready across our nation. And when you strike, we will strike back. We will level and demolish every mosque across this country."
Chief of security for Cliven Bundy at the Bundy Ranch standoff; pleaded guilty to two related federal charges
Endorsement: DeLemus was named co-chair of Veterans for Trump in New Hampshire in July 2015. Before his arrest, DeLemus told Reuters he intended to debrief Trump about the Oregon standoff: "I think it'll really arouse him."
In his own words: In 2013, DeLemus posted in an online forum, "If we do not stand against this insanity we can be sure we will fully slip into tyranny. We are in a similar position our Founding Fathers found themselves in, and their decision to stand was equally difficult."
Participant in Oregon standoff; pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges related to the standoffs in Oregon and Nevada
Endorsement: "At least Donald Trump is offering a solution," he wrote on Facebook in June. "I know who gets my vote."
In his own words: Earlier this year, Cooper posted a video of himself on Facebook in which he said, "I'm serving [the country] the way that it should be served. Defending the Constitution from all enemies both foreign and domestic. And the [Bureau of Land Management] is definitely a domestic enemy of the Constitution of the United States."
Former Nevada legislator, an advocate for the occupiers in the standoffs in Nevada and Oregon
Endorsement: "If Trump becomes our nominee I will be his biggest fighter," she wrote on her website in May.
In her own words: Following the Paris terrorist attacks, Fiore stated on her weekend radio show, "I am not okay with Syrian refugees. I am not okay with terrorists. I'm okay with putting them down—blacking them out. Just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life." (Fiore later clarified that she was referring only to terrorists, not refugees, when she advocated shooting them.)
Founder of the white nationalist website VDARE.com
Endorsement: "They are stunning!" Brimelow said of Trump's immigration policies in an August 2015 podcast. "This is the most explicit any presidential candidate has ever been."
In his own words: "If [a new political party] did become an explicitly white nationalist party it seems to me that would be a perfectly legitimate response to the immigration-driven ethnic shift and the rise of ethno-centric politics on the part of the minorities," Brimelow wrote on VDARE.com.
White nationalist host of the Political Cesspool radio program
Endorsement: "Our people just needed a viable candidate and they've identified Trump as that man," Edwards said on Political Cesspool in March. "There is no doubt that Trump's populism and nationalism is galvanizing our nation and may change the course of American history for the better right before our very eyes."
In his own words: "The ingredient in Trump's historic rise that makes it so delicious is that it's nuclear powered," he wrote after a Trump rally. "It is unstoppable. It is impervious to foot-shuffling, complaints, whining, hysterical cries of 'racism' and so-called 'white supremacism.' Trump supporters don't care and there is something undeniably infectious about Trump's masculine attitude." Edwards has also called Trump's campaign "implicitly white."
Brad Griffin (pen name Hunter Wallace)
Founder of the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent
Endorsement: "The signal has gone out to join the Trump campaign and to openly organize in the mainstream under the banner of the Republican frontrunner to take down the hated cuckservative establishment."
In his own words: "Our message is more visible than ever before," Griffin wrote on his website. "It's also all due to Trump's presidential run…Can you imagine a world in which White Nationalists have come out of the closet, the charge of 'racism' elicits only a 'meh' and shrugged shoulders, and we have begun to openly organize?"
Leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, and training director of the neo-Confederate group League of the South
Endorsement: "The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world," Heimbach said in a May 2016 Radio Aryan podcast. "So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more…Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory!"
In his own words: "The 'freedom' for other races to move freely into white nations is nonexistent," he said in 2013. "Stay in your own nations, we don't want you here."
Book author and blogger for the white nationalist websites Radix Journal and American Renaissance
Endorsement: "The survival of the current political, economic, and cultural system is a death sentence for the European-American population," Hood wrote in July 2015 Radix post. "Trump creates an opening to disrupt that system."
In his own words: "I began to understand that not everyone is just a white person, some of them with deeper tans," Hood wrote in a 2015 blog post. "They really aren't like us—and absent a white majority, the cultural norms and institutions Americans take for granted simply will not exist."
Leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, and a former Trump delegate
Endorsement: Johnson endorsed Trump in a February 2016 robocall, saying, "The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called 'racist'…Donald Trump is not racist, but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don't vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump."
In his own words: "We wanted to push the Trump presidency, but we also wanted to bring attention to the nation and to the Trump campaign that there are those of us who are proud of our heritage, proud to be white, and want to maintain and preserve that heritage," Johnson said on Political Cesspool.
Editor of the white nationalist website the Occidental Observer
Endorsement: "This may be the last chance for Whites to elect a president who represents their interests," MacDonald wrote in a December 2015 post.
In his own words: "Jewish power has been so deeply antithetical to the interests of Whites in America and elsewhere," he wrote on his site in 2012.
Author of The Trump Revolution, and a contributor to VDare.com
Endorsement: Trump is "a political Samson that threatens to bring the den of iniquity crashing down on its patrons," Mercer wrote in her book, published in June 2016.
In her own words: Mercer also wrote in her book that Trump is "a man who won't grovel to the Powers That Be and who has refused to submit to the precepts of Cultural Marxism, namely the tyranny that sees speech policed for impropriety and individuals stigmatized and isolated for thinking and speaking in a manner disallowed by the politically correct police."
Paul Ray Ramsey, a.k.a. RamzPaul
White nationalist video blogger
Endorsement: He endorsed Trump in a July 2016 video titled "Trump's Acceptance Speech—the Lion." "The Donald—God bless him," he said in an earlier, December 2015, video. "I'm like a teenager with a crush."
In his own words: "The GOP is becoming the de facto White party," he tweeted in July. "Nothing wrong with that."
Richard B. Spencer
President of the white nationalist National Policy Institute, and editor of Radix Journal
Endorsement: "Trump says things, says these in a way—mundane things—with such gusto, with such visceral energy and toughness," Spencer said in a 2015 podcast.
In his own words: "Martin Luther King Jr., a fraud and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization," he wrote in Radix Journal. "We must overcome!"
Founder of the white nationalist American Renaissance website
Endorsement: "I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America," Taylor said in a January 2016 robocall. "We don't need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture."
In his own words: "We do the country no favors by insisting that blacks are just as smart and hard-working as whites but are held back only by wicked whites," he said in a 2010 interview in Taki's Magazine. "That only encourages blacks to hate whites, and many don't need encouragement."
This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Additional reporting by Kalen Goodluck, Jaime Longoria, and Evan Malmgreen.