Meet Donald Trump’s Latest Far-Right Twitter Muse
Donald Trump has found a new far-right lunatic to retweet.
Maggie Haberman at The New York Times writes about the British woman who appears to be becoming President Trump’s latest far-right Twitter muse:
WASHINGTON — As President Trump doubles down on a re-election approach of stoking fear of immigrants, he is once again elevating a voice of validation — and many say racism — that he discovered during his last presidential campaign.
That voice is Katie Hopkins, a far-right British commentator who has made denunciations of migrants and Muslims — and defenses of Mr. Trump — a staple of her public discourse. British headlines have routinely labeled Ms. Hopkins a “racist” and a “bigot” for her views about immigrants.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Trump invoked Ms. Hopkins shortly before a mass shooting that killed 22 in El Paso, where the suspect wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto that echoed Mr. Trump’s inflammatory language about migrants.
The president, at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., shared a tweet from Ms. Hopkins condemning London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, over the city’s crime rate. Mr. Trump has feuded with Mr. Khan since 2016, when Mr. Khan criticized his remarks about Islam.
“The nipple-height Mayor of Londonistan has NEVER been so unpopular,” Ms. Hopkins tweeted. “He has MINUS approval ratings because we are stab-city. London deserves better. Get Khan Out.”
The president also retweeted a post by Ms. Hopkins that blamed the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for crimes committed by immigrants.
On Monday, facing public pressure to address the racism behind the El Paso shooting, Mr. Trump spoke critically of white supremacism, in remarks drafted primarily by an adviser, Stephen Miller. But it is often Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed that carries his authentic voice.
Mr. Trump has a history of promoting inflammatory far-right opinions, including those of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists and critics of Islam. Still, the president’s embrace of Ms. Hopkins, amid a flurry of other news stories, has received little attention, something that has concerned some advocates of immigration reform.
“There is no debate on what sort of person Katie Hopkins is,” said Todd Schulte, the president of the group FWD.us. “The president should have stopped using his platform to spread her ideology long ago. He has not; that tells people all they need to know.”
Ms. Hopkins, a former Sun and Daily Mail columnist who appeared on the British version of “The Apprentice,” has become well known in Britain for her provocative views.
In a 2015 column, she compared migrants to cockroaches. And after a suicide bombing killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017, Ms. Hopkins tweeted that “we need a final solution” to the terrorism problem. She later deleted the post.
Sowing fear of Muslims — and calling out other politicians for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” — was a bedrock of Mr. Trump’s run to the presidency in 2016. In an interview that March, he told the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that “Islam hates us.” The previous year, he would not rule out a mandatory registry of Muslims in the United States in an interview with Yahoo News and, after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., called for a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Ms. Hopkins’s tweets and commentary were first a source of affirmation for Mr. Trump in his campaign.
“Thank you to respected columnist Katie Hopkins,” Mr. Trump tweeted in 2015, “for her powerful writing on the U.K.’s Muslim problems.” In another tweet, he said, “The politicians of the U.K. should watch Katie Hopkins,” adding, “Many people in the U.K. agree with me!”
Mr. Trump has praised Twitter as a way to speak directly with his supporters, and in turn the platform has become a way for some of his most controversial supporters to reach him directly.
But Mr. Trump had stayed away from Ms. Hopkins’s Twitter feed since he became president. This summer, though, she caught Mr. Trump’s eye again as he attacked Mr. Khan during his state visit to Britain.
And last month, Mr. Trump retweeted Ms. Hopkins’s post suggesting that “send her back” — a chant by Trump supporters directed at one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — could be a new campaign slogan. “Send her back is the new lock her up,” she wrote.
Hopkins would not be the first far-right “journalist” that Trump developed a fascination for, of course. That started well before e became a candidate for Presiden when he would routinely retweet or repost content put into the social media stream by writers for Breitbart and other far-right websites. Both as a candidate and as President he has retweeted content from alt-right sources here in the United States and far-right groups in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. It’s something that has happened so consistently that it’s hard to believe that Trump is merely retweeting things he agrees with without considering the source. At this point, one has to conclude that this isn’t happening by accident, that Trump isn’t merely retweeting these people because they say things he likes. He’s doing it because they agree with his own sick and twisted view of the world. If he were just a civilian, one could dismiss it as the ranting of that crazy Uncle at the Thanksgiving dinner table. But he’s more than just your crazy Uncle, he’s the President of the United States.