Members of the alt-right, a loosely organized network of individuals with primarily white nationalist beliefs, have picked a new target for their wrath: the silver-haired, Trump-loving radio host Bill Mitchell.
Mitchell, who is perhaps best known for predicting with 100 percent certainty that Trump would win, publicly disavowed the alt-right in a tweet on December 27, saying that he’d prefer to ascribe the phrase “America First” to pro-Trump forces—a line co-opted from the president-elect himself.
He then escalated his assault on the group, which Mitchell described to The Daily Beast as a racist fringe, with a tweet on Monday criticizing the Pepe the Frog meme, an image that was created for innocuous purposes and used by a number of Trump supporters on Twitter, Reddit and 4chan.
“You know what?” Mitchell tweeted. “I’m really sick of this damned green frog. Who the hell ever thought that was a good mascot?”
It would appear that a lot of people did and still do.
The tweets sparked a number of posts on R/The_Donald, a popular subreddit community for Trump supporters, where users argued about Mitchell’s place in the movement. Some were quick to say that he was no better than “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, while others implored the community to calm down and let this one slide.
Inevitably Mitchell seemed to relent to the immediate backlash and apologized for offending anyone who appreciates the dear animated frog.
“Maybe it’s because I’m an old dude, but I just never got Pepe,” the 56-year-old tweeted on Tuesday. “To those who love Trump and love Pepe, I apologize if I offended you.”
This difference of opinion, while seemingly pithy, underscores a rift in ideology that has bubbled to the surface among some Trump supporters.
It was first brought to light when Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who popularized the alt-right term, took public issue with the organizers of an inaugural event called “The Deplora-Ball.” He called out one of the organizers, Mike Cernovich, a proliferator of conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, saying that he was an opportunistic egotist who wasn’t defined by the same ideologies as Spencer.
“People like Mike Cernovich and Milo (Yiannopoulos) don’t have an ideology; they don’t even really have policies that you can point to,” Spencer previously told The Daily Beast. “They are Trump fans, who are vaguely conservative and a bit neocon-ish. They don’t like feminists and SJWs (social justice warriors); in other words, they pick the low-hanging fruit.”
And now he seems to think the same thing of Mitchell, another big name social media star who is set to attend “The Deplora-Ball.”
“Bill Mitchel [sic] isn’t even a populist,” Spencer said in an email to The Daily Beast. “He’s just a cuckservative. I really thought the Trump campaign was the death knell of official “conservatism”; I was overly optimistic.”
He added that Mitchell is a “totally useless goofball.”
“The fact that he’s denouncing everything “racist” and “sexist” reveals this,” Spencer said. “The Left plays the tune, and he starts dancing. At what point will he denounce Donald Trump?”
It would appear that the men share disdain for one another.
In a phone interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday, Mitchell was unequivocal about his beliefs when it comes to Spencer, saying “I think he’s a racist.”
He also called out another prominent pro-Trump account @JaredWyand, who got suspended after making Anti-Semitic comments.
“He went so deep into this Jew-bashing and all this stuff,” Mitchell told The Daily Beast. “Jews are not your problem. If you’re not succeeding in life, Jewish people are not your problem. Look in the mirror.”
It is unclear whether this recurring fight—between people like Spencer, who appeared at an event with actual Nazi salutes and Mitchell, who seemingly wants to protect his brand and status—is going to last in the immediate future.
But, then again, there are still two weeks until the Deplora-Ball.