Charlottesville: Former KKK leader Scott Shepherd says 'Donald Trump has encouraged white nationalists'

Monday, August 14, 2017

A former Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan has said Donald Trump has encouraged white nationalists by his reluctance to condemn their behaviour in Charlottesville - and he must now take serious action.

Scott Shepherd, who know works as an anti-racism campaigner, also said there are parallels between the sort of white supremacist violence seen in Charlottesville and the evils of radical Islam.

Shepherd, who worked his way up to the highest echelons of the Klan but quit the movement after several run-ins with the law, was speaking to Sam about the violence in Virginia which saw anti-racism protester Heather Heyer killed.

Trump has now condemned the white supremacists as "criminals and thugs" but critics say it's too little, too late given his earlier refusal to do so.

Our interviewee refused to say that Trump was directly to blame, as "the same thing happened back in 1986/87  in Forsythe County, Georgia when they had a big white nationalist, supremacist march. Donald Trump wasn't president then.

"But he should speak out, be more stern, and crack down on these white supremacists and speak harsher about it, make a direct appeal to the white supremacists that he's not going to tolerate this.

"The less that he says and comments, sure it'll encourage them. They'll take it as a 'it's ok for us to do this, nothing's going to be done.'

"He definitely needs to speak out."

Shepherd added that many of the people who attended the 'Unite the Right' protest in Virginia were highly educated, and were guided by a "perverted" form of Christianity.

When Sam suggested there was parallels with Islamist terror, Shepherd agreed wholeheartedly, saying the leaders of the 'white nationalist' movement "use their beliefs to brainwash some of these young people coming into the movement, that's how they draw them in."

Shepherd said the problem of white nationalism is increasing all the time as there is "a growing mentality", but perhaps, as a result of the chaos in Charlottesville, "people can see the racial problem in this country. They can no longer deny it, they can see the numbers have increased. It made them aware there's still a lot of work to be done."

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