In one tweet that Trump shared with his 60 million plus followers, Hopkins likened “Send her back” to “Lock her up,” an anti-Hillary Clinton chant in the 2016 presidential election.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Trump used racism and bigotry to win in 2016 (Trump has denied being a racist.) From his lies demonizing immigrants to his calling for a “total” ban on Muslims, he has clearly committed to following and apparently escalating that strategy for 2020.
For those unfamiliar with Hopkins, consider yourself lucky. But since Trump retweeted her twice in the last month (as well as during the 2016 campaign) — it’s important that we understand the type of people Trump is elevating and supporting. This is especially vital since white nationalists know exactly who she is and are probably overjoyed the President retweeted her — much the same way many of these bigots praised Trump’s attacks this week on four Democratic congresswomen, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League.
Hopkins has a long and storied track record targeting blacks, Muslims, immigrants and Jews. Hopkins claims she was banned from South Africa in 2018 and again in 2019 for “spreading racial hatred,” after she argued that there was “ethnic cleansing” of white farmers in South Africa who were being “slaughtered” by “black gangs,” a claim debunked by the BBC and others.
And that followed a tweet in 2018, when Hopkins called a black man who disagreed with her the racial slur: “Jigga-Boo.” (She later deleted the tweet but did not apologize for the use of this slur.)
It gets worse. In 2017, Hopkins called for a “final solution” of Muslims after the Manchester concert bombing. The Final Solution was Hitler’s plan for eliminating all Jews, but this time Hopkins was calling for a holocaust against Muslims, which resulted in her losing her UK radio show. (Similarly, she deleted the tweet but refused to apologize.)
But it’s not just Muslims she has targeted. As Sir Mick Davis, a former chair of the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council, wrote in an op-ed earlier this month, “Hopkins’ bigotry does not end with Muslims. Her history of incitement also features Jews.”
As Davis noted, Hopkins had horrifically blamed the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in which 11 Jews were killed by a far right wing, anti-immigrant actor on the temple’s rabbi, with Hopkins writing two days after the attack, “Look to the Chief Rabbi and his support for mass migration across the Med,” adding, “There you will find your truths.”
Speaking of anti-Semitism, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote, Hopkins “enthusiastically meets up with senior figures in Germany’s far-right Afd [Alternative for Germany] and the Nazi-founded Austrian Freedom Party, which Israel itself boycotts.” And just last year, Hopkins shared the stage at an event with a Holocaust denier.
Hopkins, like Trump, has also demonized and dehumanized immigrants. In Trump’s case, it is with his continued smears that the migrants and refugees approaching our southern border are “rapists,” “drug dealers” and criminals who want to “[i]nfest our country.” Meanwhile, Hopkins, in 2015, wrote that migrants heading to Europe were “cockroaches” and instead of sending rescue boats to help them, “I’d use gunships to stop migrants.”
Hopkins has also taken to promoting appearances by white nationalists like America’s Jared Taylor, whose despicable views, as the SPLC has documented, include writing that, “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” (Trump has also called some prominent black Americans “low IQ” and “dumb.”)
If Trump or his defenders try to claim he has no idea who Hopkins is, that would be a lie. In December 2015, Trump praised Hopkins, who was a 2007 contestant on the UK version of “The Apprentice” (not produced by Trump), for her support of Trump’s call for a “total” ban on Muslims” with tweets
like, “Thank you to respected columnist Katie Hopkins…for her powerful writing on the UK.’s Muslim problems.” It’s not clear whether the two know each other personally.
But Trump retweeting hateful bigots is nothing new. During the 2016 campaign, he retweeted various white nationalists — including one with the name “White Genocide,” which is the phrase used by white supremacists to describe their fear that white people in America are being overrun by people of color. In fact, as Slate noted in March, four of the openly racist Twitter accounts that Trump retweeted at various times during the 2016 campaign have since been suspended by Twitter.
And while Trump’s retweets may not be surprising, that doesn’t mean we can allow them to go unchallenged. White supremacy and bigotry are not American values, though they more and more appear to be values Trump is willing to embrace when politically expedient.
It’s up to all who embrace American values to stand up to Trump. If not, Trump will succeed in replacing the values that have made our nation great — and that will be a dark day, not only for our country, but also for the world.