President-elect Donald Trump said today that he condemned the alt-right group who was seen yelling “Hail Trump” and engaging in anti-Semitic behavior during a conference over the weekend – saying the movement is not something he wants to “energize.”
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In a video taken by The Atlantic, attendees of the white nationalist National Policy Institute (NPI) conference this weekend were seen yelling “Hail Trump” and giving Nazi salutes.
Trump denounced the group in an hour-long sit-down interview with The New York Times at the newspaper’s Manhattan headquarters. He also told The Times that the alt-right movement is “not a group I want to energize. And if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”
“I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn,” he told The Times.
The alt right, or alternative right, is made up of a number of groups with far-right ideologies – but is united in their beliefs that "’white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC describes NPI as a white nationalist hate group. The Anti-Defamation League has denounced its members as white supremacists.
During the conference, NPI president Richard Spencer had spoken positively about the president-elect and credited his campaign as “the first step toward identity politics in the United States.” The conference was attended by several hundred people and was met by a large contingent of protesters.
Trump has repeatedly denied courting the support of white supremacists during the campaign.
His campaign released a statement yesterday saying that Trump “continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”