Sessions, who was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after the Senate heard testimony about his criticism of the NAACP, has been a resilient foe of the Obama administration’s housing and legal priorities. He led a group of Republicans opposing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing plan, which encouraged more development of public housing and transportation in cities. At his 1986 hearing, he admitted calling the Voting Rights Act “intrusive legislation,” and since the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision he has dismissed calls for a restoration of the act’s pre-clearance provision.
Spencer made the remarks at an afternoon news conference in a ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building, where NPI had gathered more than 100 activists for a postelection conference. The “ask anything” presser began with a request for journalists not to photograph attendees without express permission, and for the news media to stand up when alt-right figures were harassed by protesters or banned from social media.
“Twitter has much more power than any government on earth,” Spencer said.
Over the next hour, journalists sat in front of Spencer and other alt-right figures to ask questions. The conference attendees sat behind them, jeering the names of outlets such as NPR and Mother Jones. One attendee could be heard shouting “Lügenpresse" ("lying press"), a German insult inspired by the Nazis, as one reporter repeatedly asked if “alt-right” was just a way to rebrand racism.
“Trump was called a racist for the entire campaign, and it didn’t have an effect,” said Kevin B. MacDonald, a California academic widely read on the alt-right. “That’s one of the big pluses here.”
“When Glenn Beck is crying and calling you a racist, it’s kind of fun,” Spencer said.
Spencer said the alt-right had been a “head without a body” before the Trump campaign, and the campaign arrived as a “body without a head.” Spencer promised that the alt-right would propose six policy ideas for the Trump administration in coming months, and the first was a 50-year moratorium on immigration, with white Europeans as the only group allowed to attain new citizenship.
Pressed by reporters, Spencer could name only a few allies in Congress — such as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) -- who might get on board with such a major policy shift. More promising, in the short term, were Trump selections such as Sessions and, as chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, of the far-right website Breitbart News.
“Breitbart didn’t get sucked into the drain of Never Trumpism and saw the promise of populism,” Spencer said.