I recently wrote about the ways that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has energized white nationalist activists and helped white supremacist groups and media with recruiting and fundraising. One of the people quoted in my Huffington Post story is 24-year-old white nationalist activist Matthew Heimbach.
Heimbach first made waves when he founded the White Student Union at Towson University and he is now a leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party. An Al Jazeera profile of Heimbach last year was titled “The Little Führer.”
Now Heimbach has turned up in another story that exemplifies why so many people are afraid of the forces being unleashed by the bigotry and bullying of Trump’s campaign.
“White supremacists hurled racist and sexist slurs Tuesday afternoon as they pushed a black protester out of a Donald Trump rally in Kentucky,” reports Raw Story. Video shows Trump supporters violently shoving a black protester, including a screaming man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
In the New York Daily News, Shaun King reported that the man seen shoving and cursing at the Louisville rally appeared to be Heimbach. For him and others wearing the same Traditionalist Worker Party t-shirts, writes King, “a Trump rally is a white power rally.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Chanelle Helm, a protester and respected activist who attended the rally, said that she and others were not just spat on, but were cursed at and demeaned repeatedly by Trump supporters.
She distinctly remembered one disturbing chant, which was lead by the white supremacists, “You’re scum, your time will come. You’re scum, your time will come.”
Heimbach confirmed in a post on the website of the Traditionalist Youth Network that he is the person in the video, but he blamed Black Lives Matter protesters for the melee. “I’ll avoid any additional Trump events to ensure that I don’t become a distraction,” he wrote, “but the entire point of the BLM’s tactics is to push people until they push back. It won’t be me next time, but White Americans are getting fed up and they’re learning that they must either push back or be pushed down.”
Before Trump arrived on the scene, Heimbach wasn’t really interested in politics. In fact, he told Al Jazeera last year, “The American system is the enemy.” He believes the country should be divided into racially homogenous enclaves. But then, Heimbach told the Washington Post, Trump started talking. “This is the first time since Buchanan in the ’90s and George Wallace in ’68 where you have a guy outside the mainstream speaking to white interests.”
Trump, says Heimbach, “has opened this floodgate that I don’t think can be restrained regardless of what happens in the 2016 elections.”