This weekend in downtown Washington, DC, a gathering of white-nationalist thought leaders, surrounded by a couple hundred of their most hardcore fans (including a jubilant, Nazi-saluting Tila Tequila), toasted the dawn of the age of President Donald J. Trump.
On Saturday, the National Policy Institute, a white-supremacist (though its adherents would prefer "race realists" or something more sanitized) think tank led by Richard Spencer, hosted its conference in the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building. It's a building that’s just a pebble's throw away from the White House (current home of the first black president of the United States, and the house that Donald Trump, a noted birther and a white-nationalist-supported incoming leader of the free world, is about to redecorate), and also a quick walking distance from Trump's newly opened hotel in DC.
The conference, headlined by leading voices in American white-nationalism and the racist alt-right (such as Spencer, Jared Taylor, and Peter Brimelow), was in part a celebration of the imminent Trump presidency—and what his victory means for their far-right movement, white identity, and "pro-white," anti-immigrant causes.
There were panel discussions on "Trump and the new white voter," and "Trump and being a man." There was a presser where Spencer (who was a staunch Trump fan, worked in college-campus activism with one of the Trump campaign's senior advisers, and works hard to try to mainstream extreme immigration and racial policies such as "peaceful ethnic cleansing” for a “white homeland”) got to chuckle and take questions from all-serious, thoroughly cucked political reporters. Cocktails, free coffee, and mediocre catered chicken were served, and Trump swag and Harambe shirts were sold.
And Tila Tequila, the Hitler-sympathizing, Trump-loving, Singapore-born former MTV personality, was there to support her friend Richard Spencer.
Political conferences sometimes try to attract pop-cultural star power to attend or speak. In September, the social-conservative Values Voters Summit brought on Oscar winner Jon Voight to sing Trump’s praises.
Perhaps fittingly, Tila Tequila was the best the white nationalists could score.
"I went full circle from the liberal stuff, and all that…I wouldn't want my daughter growing up in that," Tequila told The Daily Beast on Saturday morning, explaining that she drifted (far, far, far far) rightward after she had a kid and saw the alt-right light.
"I'm becoming more conservative ever since I became a mother," she continued. "I wouldn't want porn all over the internet [for instance]…Law and order, I think that's very important to have. Most people are so used to being all about their 'freedom,' so they becomes these little crybabies. They can't live by laws and rules. Civilization needs to be civilized."
Tequila, a “politically incorrect” one-time reality-TV star (much like our next president!) and model, has dabbled in casual anti-Semitism and pro-Nazi declarations over the years, to the point where she has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League. "This is clearly a person who is desperate for publicity at all costs," an ADL spokesman told me in December 2013, shortly after Tequila posted a Facebook image of herself in sexy-Nazi garb.
But what draws her to the alt-right these days? Humor and Pepe the Frog and “Emperor Trump” memes, she says.
"Honestly, I think that the meme-warring, I think it's very refreshing," she said. "I've never seen anything like that in any [other] group. They are very creative, that is very important to have for the children. Creativity, and art, and magic… and humor! [The alt-right] adds a little humor to it, which is good… And I think that's why I'm also invited here because I bring a little bit more diversity to the movement."
On Friday night, Tequila had enjoyed a private dinner in Friendship Heights with NPI donors, Spencer, internet troll Chuck Johnson, and other alt-right figures. When anti-fascist protesters showed up to the restaurant that evening, she laughed and dismissed them as “ugly” and “degenerates.”
She just kept on smiling, and kept making her Sieg Heil! salute.
Tequila was correct in saying that she brought a dash of ethnic diversity to the Washington weekend of pro-white-people festivities. The attendees of Saturday’s day-long conference were mostly white dudes, many with Hitler-Youth type hairdos, some wearing their Make America Great Again hats.
There was a young attendee who made sure to tell his friend in the lunch line, "Don't be a salad-cuck," giddily deploying the alt-right’s preferred pejorative against mainstream conservatives and “globalists.” There was a college kid who goes by "J" who says he runs his campus conservative group, and that "coming out" as alt-right is like coming out as gay. There was Lana Lokteff, who runs a pro-white online TV show, who says "Trump is not our savior" but a "step in the right direction," and exclaims that "we [just] want to be around people who are nice to white people!"
And there was Lokteff’s cameraman, who gave some of his blood for the conference. Quite literally.
On Saturday afternoon, left-wing protesters turned up outside the Ronald Reagan Building to protest the pro-Trump gathering of bigots and white supremacists. They chanted and marched against “fascism” and Trump, and carried signs such as ones reading “SEXIST RACIST PSYCHO" and “Prince didn't die for all this NAZI BULLSHIT.”
One of Lokteff’s female colleagues and her cameraman stepped outside to interview some of the protesters, and to tell them that they were in fact the violent, vicious, and intolerant ones.
As discussions grew increasingly antagonistic, the cameraman (who declined to provide his name to The Daily Beast) says that a protester—a “ravenous commie,” as his colleague put it—snatched his smartphone. His attempt to grab back his phone resulted in a scuffle that led to him choke-holding a demonstrator, and multiple people throwing punches his way.
By the time the cops broke up the fight, the cameraman had blood pouring down his forehead.
“GET HOME SAFE, YOU FUCKING FASCIST!" an onlooker shouted as the police escorted him back inside the building.
Back at the NPI conference, the cameraman met his colleagues to dish on the leftist barbarians at the gate, and to settle down and get back to work after the skirmish. When asked if he identified as alt-right or white-nationalist, he simply told The Daily Beast that he is a proud “Trumpservative.”
Of course, he was one of many at the Ronald Reagan Building that afternoon.
“The Alt-Right has been declared the winner [of this presidential election],” Spencer said on the night Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. “The Alt-Right is more deeply connected to Trumpian populism than the ‘conservative movement.’”
“We’re the establishment now,” he concluded.