Trump and Bannon and Hannity go to Europe
President Trump’s International trips generally involve lots of surreal moments. This week was no exception. Trump managed to derail the NATO summit with his made-for-TV theatrics and then told the press that his meeting with Putin would be the “easiest of them all.” If you’ve been following Trump since the campaign trail, his behavior shouldn’t come as a surprise. NATO was a frequent target of Trump’s ire in 2016, and at one point he threatened that America wouldn’t defend NATO allies if other members didn’t increase their financial contribution.
Trump’s trip to the UK was designed to minimize the potential damage and drama, but of course the opposite happened. As May was hosting Trump for a formal dinner, British tabloid The Sun released a scathing interview where Trump dealt an unprompted blow to May, saying she’d ruined Brexit and that America wouldn’t be making trade deals as a result: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”
Trump met the Queen but mostly avoided London due to massive planned protests and a giant baby Trump hot air balloon. Good thing as in the same interview he also lobbed insults at the London Mayor and residents. But despite alienating and insulting our ally across the pond, Trump wasn’t alone in the UK. He had Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity to bolster him abroad.
Steve Bannon has been spending a lot of time in Europe since leaving the White House, making headlines for his attempts to mobilize far-right activists using Trump as a rallying point. A day before Trump was set to arrive in the UK, Bannon held a meeting of far-right populist leaders.
Louis Aliot, a right-wing French politician and boyfriend of the French populist firebrand Marine Le Pen, walked through the lobby to a conference room tucked away behind the restaurant serving afternoon tea. So did Nigel Farage, the right-wing British politician and Brexit mastermind whom the local tabloids say is “banned” by his government from meeting with Trump during his visit.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of a prominent London conservative think tank, lingered by the concierge booth as he discussed ways Trump’s British fans can offer him a warm greeting amid planned protests and a giant inflatable diapered Trump baby set to fly over the city. “We’re trying to tell the story that there is a strong well of support,” said Harris-Quinney.
They had all come to see Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had set up a bare war room, of sorts, in a conference room at the hotel to confer and conspire with leaders of Europe’s surging populist movement. Bannon’s goal, he said in a brief interview between meetings, is to help “contextualize Trump” for a European audience that hates him and a fiery tabloid media culture that he believes doesn’t give the American president a fair shake.
Bannon is also pitching himself as a pro-Trump surrogate for European media. He appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show for a full hour on Thursday as Sean Hannity is broadcasting from London as well. Newsweek suggests that both Bannon and Hannity are trying to shore up support for Trump in Europe but they’re missing the point. Bannon and Hannity aren’t speaking to the majority of Britons. They’re laser focused on the European Frogs who can’t enough of Trump, and using Trump’s trip to galvanize them.
I’m a broken record on this, but it bears repeating. The far right is organized as an international movement against globalism. Their goal is to uphold white supremacy at any cost, they’ll gladly weaken or dismantle democracies to keep people of color and women from gaining more political power. They coordinate on messaging and campaigns. Trump, who despises NATO and cozies up to Putin, is helping create the world they want to see. In the same interview with The Sun, Trump threw plenty of red meat to his European fanboys:
“I think what has happened to Europe is a shame.
“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.
“I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.
“So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.
“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.”
Bannon is smart to make the most of his opportunity. He’s solidifying a global coalition and as of yet there’s no opposition built to take him and Trump on on the same scale.
This Monday is Amazon Prime Day, and we’re using the day to remind Amazon that it’s unacceptable to support bigots. Add your name now to take a stand and demand they stop buying ads on Breitbart.
Tommy Robinson Piece
Since his guilty plea and subsequent jailing for contempt of court, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) has received support from across the North American far right and anti-Muslim scenes.
It has emerged that Lennon has also been receiving significant financial assistance from across the Atlantic, namely in the form of legal and monetary help from the Philadelphia-based organization the Middle East Forum (MEF), led by Daniel Pipes.
Worryingly, MEF also claims to have held an “organizing and funding” role in both yesterday’s protest in support of Lennon and June’s rally in London, which was marred by violence and vandalism, and which saw nazis and other antisemites in the crowd.
- A new joint report by The Partnership for Working Families and the Action Centre on Race and the Economy delves into how Amazon’s range of platforms allow hate content to be spread and what the company can do to stem it.
- A new study from Pew Research Center examines the relationship between social media and activism in the US to mark the fifth anniversary of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
- NRCC withdraws support for New Jersey congressional candidate and right-wing pundit Seth Grossman over bigoted remarks (Media Matters)
- Facebook Is Testing a Feature to Tell You If That DM Came from Russia (Vice)
- WhatsApp now labels forwarded messages to fight fake news in India (Engadget)
- Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers (New York Times)
- Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward and her husband are admins of a racist conspiracy Facebook group (Media Matters)
- Violent Neo-Nazi Group Has Disturbing Plans For Canada (Vice)
- Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad’ (The Guardian)
Check out my video op-ed for NowThis on how that far right has weaponized the Internet. As of Friday it’s at over 500,000 views which is pretty cool.
I was prolific at Media Matters this week and wrote about Brad Parscale, Jon Kyl, and why the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office just fined Facebook 500,000 pounds.
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