Trump's 'Social Media Summit' is gearing up to be a celebration of bigotry and conspiracy theories.
The White House is set to host a "Social Media Summit" on Thursday that doesn't include leading social media companies like Facebook and Twitter — but does include some infamously racist and anti-Semitic far-right conservatives.
Beltway Breakfast reported on Monday that among the invitees are Trump-supporting conservative activists Ali Alexander (aka Ali Akbar) and Ben Garrison. Alexander recently pushed a racist conspiracy theory about Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Harrison is a cartoonist who is notorious for an anti-Semitic piece of artwork.
The inclusion of hateful figures like Alexander and Garrison, and the exclusion of major social media platforms, are just the latest indication that this White House "summit" is not a serious gathering to discuss important issues like internet privacy or foreign election interference. Instead, it's most likely an attempt to bolster unfounded conservative claims that social media platforms are biased against the right.
During the June 27 Democratic presidential debate, Alexander wrote a tweet that falsely claimed: "Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican."
Buzzfeed noted that Alexander's smear has "long been simmering in fringe conspiracy and neo-Nazi circles," and that Harris has been subjected to racist attacks on her heritage similar to the "birther" smears against President Barack Obama.
Trump was for years the leading promoter of the racist birther attacks against Obama. And Donald Trump Jr. amplified Alexander's similar attack on Harris by retweeting it.
Many of Harris' fellow Democratic candidates slammed the racist attacks of the sort being circulated by Trump's White House guest. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called the conspiracy theories "racist and ugly," and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) bashed the "troll-fueled racist attacks" as "unacceptable."
Garrison, the cartoonist, was slammed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for a 2017 cartoon depicting philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros as the puppet master of Trump's then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
"Soros, who is Jewish, is himself depicted in the cartoon with puppet strings, being guided by a greenish hand and arm labeled 'Rothschilds,' the name of a Jewish family long involved in the banking industry," the ADL noted. "The thrust of the cartoon is clear: McMaster is merely a puppet of a Jewish conspiracy."
Trump infamously praised neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "very fine people" early in his administration. So it's no wonder he would grant a prestigious White House invitation to bigots like Alexander and Garrison.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.