The Trump team and its assorted hangers-on have long relished trolling the libs by dabbling in white supremacist rhetoric and symbology only to cry foul when called out on it. But this time they’ve crossed the line and there are no excuses.
The Trump team used the official Facebook pages of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the “Trump Team” to run 88 ads asking users to sign a petition demanding that “antifa” be declared a terrorist group alongside an inverted red triangle. Despite allowing Trump to use its platform to lie, defame, and endanger the public in the past, this crossed a line for Facebook, which removed all the ads, saying they were “violating our policy against organized hate.”
Historians and Jewish groups quickly pointed out that this symbol was used by the Nazis to identify political enemies such as communists and Freemasons in the concentration camps.
The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol.
Nazis used the red triangle to mark political prisoners and people who rescued Jews.
Trump & the RNC are using it to smear millions of protestors.
Their masks are off. pic.twitter.com/UzmzDaRBup
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) June 18, 2020
The choice to run eighty-eight ads is clearly deliberate; white supremacists use the number 88 as a numerical code to represent “Heil Hitler,” often in conjunction with “14,” which represents the white supremacist slogan “the Fourteen Words.”
Nazi expert Jacob S. Eder told The Washington Post that the Trump team’s ads are “a highly problematic use of a symbol that the Nazis used to identify their political enemies. … It’s hard to imagine it’s done on purpose, because I’m not sure if the vast majority of Americans know or understand the sign, but it’s very, very careless to say the least.”
When pressed for comment, the Trump team claimed that it was an “antifa” symbol and shared a graphic that they almost certainly made themselves that “proves” it.
While most Americans aren’t going to get the reference, it is a clear dog whistle to Trump’s white supremacist and neo-Nazi supporters. While Donald Trump himself certainly does not know what this symbol means and is likely not even aware that the ads are being run at all, it’s clear that his campaign is staffed with white supremacists who aren’t afraid to openly signal to their fellow racist scumbags.
It is deeply disturbing to see the President’s re-election campaign use concentration camp imagery to smear the millions of protesters who have been marching for racial equality and justice for those murdered by the police. It is an open declaration of how they think the Trump administration should deal with peaceful protesters — with concentration camps — and a dark hint at what might await our nation should Trump win re-election.
These appalling Nazi dog whistles must motivate us to fight even harder to make sure Trump and his Nazi lapdogs are driven from power once and for all.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.