Speed Reads


The alt-right's views of Trump are getting kind of complicated after his Syria strike

When President Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian government air base Thursday night, in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces reportedly carried out on civilians in a rebel-held town, America's political factions were scrambled. Some officials in former President Barack Obama's administration joined GOP congressional leaders and many commentators critical of Trump in praising the strike, while Trump's core supporters on the alt-right and critics on the left criticized the attack.

Alt-right leader and noted white nationalist Richard Spencer led an anti-Syria-war march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Alex Jones' InfoWars who broke with Trump over the attack, debated one of Trump's biggest supporters on Twitter, Bill Mitchell, who supported the strike. But like Mitchell, many of Trump's supporters on the alt-right did not like the alt-right's criticism of Trump, as Watson's Twitter feed demonstrates. Here's a sampling:

The alt-right movement opposes more military intervention or "regime change" in Syria because, like the left, they fear it could lead to another Iraq-style quagmire, and unlike the left, because they want the $1.5 million spent on each Tomahawk missile to be used on a Mexico border wall and mass deportation of immigrants. "If the alt-right's core ethos could be reduced to a single maxim, it would be this: to each his own," writes Osita Nwanevu at Slate, in an analysis Spencer called "fairly objective." That attitude undergirds the movement's "support for racial and cultural separation and white nationalism," Nwaneyu said, but "it is also the attitude that undergirds the movement's less widely discussed isolationism." That isolationism, it seems, has its limits when it comes to Trump.