Richard Spencer: ‘Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump’

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer said the “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville, Va., in August of 2017 “would not have occurred without Trump” becoming president.

Spencer, the organizer of the rally and a white nationalist leader who coined the term “alt-right,” made the remarks to The Atlantic in a broader piece published Tuesday detailing what the magazine titled “An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry.”

{mosads}“There is no question that Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump,” Spencer said. “It really was because of his campaign and this new potential for a nationalist candidate who was resonating with the public in a very intense way.“

Spencer added in The Atlantic piece that the “alt-right found something in Trump.”

“He changed the paradigm and made this kind of public presence of the alt-right possible,” he said.

The rally in Charlottesville, which took place about six months after President Trump took office, originated when white nationalists and Spencer scheduled a protest about the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

Hundreds of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, many carrying tiki torches, marched on the University of Virginia campus chanting slogans such as “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and soil.”

The rally and subsequent counter-protest the following day led to the murder of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a white nationalist who plowed through a crowd of counter-protestors with his car.

The day Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Trump at a press conference condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.”

A few days later, Trump followed up his previous comments by denouncing the violent acts while saying there were “very fine people on both sides,” 

Spencer applauded Trump’s “both sides” remark.

“Trump, in his own way, was being honest and calling it like he saw it,” he said. “I was proud of him at that moment.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment on Spencer’s remarks.

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