Although Trump's praise for the “fine people” who marched for white Supremacy in Charlottesville seems to have faded from the mainstream media's collective consciousness, the “fine people” of the hateful white nationalist movement continue to feel empowered and emboldened.
Now, they're waging a campaign to absolve one of their own for the murder of Heather Heyer in a cowardly act of terror one month ago.
Media Matters reports that members of the white nationalist alt-right are spreading a despicable smear in defense of their terrorist brother James Fields, who has been charged with Heyer's murder:
On September 5, white nationalist and anti-Semitic writer Hunter Wallace wrote on his blog Occidental Dissent that Heyer's mom “said in an NBC interview she died of a heart attack” and he seemed to blame Heyer's weight, rather than Fields explicitly, for her death. He wrote, “We can't find any information about Heather Heyer's injuries or an autopsy. She does seem to be a very large woman though. My guess is that she was at least 250 pounds lying on her back in 90 degree heat. It is reasonable to wonder if her health had something to do with her death.” Wallace added, “To my knowledge, no else has died in these incidents when protesters are in the street and get run over. It happens quite frequently.” The claim echoes what Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi blog The Daily Stormer (who had attacked Heyer by calling her an “overweight slob with no children”) had told The Washington Post weeks earlier, when the paper reported that “Anglin disputed authorities' conclusions, suggesting instead that Heyer may have suffered a heart attack at the scene.”
Other fringe and white nationalist media figures have since run with Wallace's claim, with some implying it clears Fields of murder charges. Fake news purveyor Before It's News republished Wallace's blog post, and white nationalist podcast host James Allsup tweeted that Heyer's mother and “medical personnel” “confirmed” Heyer died of a heart attack, adding that Wallace's post “looks to be very well sourced.”
But looking away hasn't lessened the damage that Trump did by emboldening these people, or that he aggravated with his hateful repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These people know Trump is on their side, and they're not going away.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.