White Nationalists claim Donald Trump encouraged racist violence and elevated their cause

Clark Mindock
A white supremacist says Mr Trump should pay for his legal fees: Getty Images

A well known white nationalist claims that he shoved a black woman at a Donald Trump campaign rally because he was acting “pursuant to the directives and requests of” Mr Trump.

Matthew Heimbach, a 26-year-old white nationalist, who was filmed apparently shoving African American protesters at a Louisville, Kentucky, rally because Mr Trump himself had encouraged the crowd to forcibly remove them.

After one of the protesters filed suit against Mr Heimbach and another man accusing them of assault and battery — while also trying to hold Mr Trump accountable for the violence — Mr Trump filed a challenge to the case that was squashed by a federal judge. That judge noted that prior Trump rally violence meant that the then-Republican nominee’s directive to supporters was “particularly reckless.”

“Get ‘em outta here!” Trump said at the rally, before the violence from his supporters.

Mr Heimbach now argues that, because Mr Trump had encouraged crowds in past rallies to “knock the c*** out of” protesters and had promised to pay any legal fees that would result, the Trump campaign should be responsible for financing his defence.

“Any liability,” Mr Heimbach, who is representing himself, wrote in a counterclaim denying the charges levied against him, “must be shifted to” Mr Trump.

The white nationalist movement has frequently been connected to Mr Trump and his campaign rhetoric. A little over 100 days in office, a group of white nationalists and members of the white supremacy group the Ku Klux Klan also say that the president’s election has helped their cause and encouraged their views.

“With Donald Trump as president, it has given the white people, especially the white Christian people, a voice,” Will Quigg, the KKK’s California Grand Dragon, told 60 minutes in a report released Sunday.

Mr Heimbach, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “considered by many to be the face of a new generation of white nationalists.”

Mr Heimbach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.