With just a week until Election Day, the Ku Klux Klan appears to be ramping up its effort to get GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump into the White House.
Residents in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Louisiana have all reported finding fliers from the KKK outside their homes in recent days. The materials contain calls for people to vote and join the organization as it tackles hot-button social issues with exactly the level of contemplation you might expect from a racist hate group.
“Please join and help us take our country back,” reads a flier recently distributed in Madison, Alabama. “Black Lives Matter Black Panthers are telling followers to kill white people and police officers in the name of justice for the killing of Negro’s (sic) by policemen in the line of duty. These Negro’s (sic) were not innocent. They were thugs breaking the law, and standing up against police.”
Residents have expressed disgust over the past week after finding similar literature in Wichita, Kansas, and Towne Lake, Georgia, where the KKK referred to transgender individuals as an “abomination” who should consider suicide.
“If your (sic) confused and don’t know what sex you are today, use a tree out in the back yard,” a Georgia flier read.
Spelling is apparently not the KKK’s forte.
In the town of Many, Louisiana, Klan pamphlets encouraged people to “get out to the poles (sic) and vote,” because, “Your vote could decide if we have a country anymore or not.”
The fliers say they’re from the Loyal White Knights, a branch known for this form of self-promotion. Will Quigg, one of the group’s dragons or wizards or demogorgons or whatever, previously tried to convince the media that he’ll actually be voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but his own comments appear to have betrayed that claim.
Although the fliers don’t appear to directly mention Trump or his candidacy, they use language that points to the KKK’s love affair with the real estate mogul, which The Huffington Post has extensively documented throughout the campaign. Trump’s thinly veiled rhetoric of racial division and tough talk on immigration ― building a wall on the southern border and banning entire groups of people from immigrating to the U.S. ― has energized white nationalists and the so-called alt-right. And Trump has, in turn, struggled to distance himself from white supremacists ― when he’s bothered to try at all.
Perhaps that’s why a KKK newspaper officially endorsed Trump last month, with a column borrowing the Republican’s campaign slogan.
Elsewhere, white supremacists are seeking to advance and capitalize on Trump’s popularity for their own political gains.
Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke, a former KKK leader who has repeatedly embraced Trump’s mantle, released an ad last week calling for supporters to vote for Trump on Election Day.
These are just the latest examples of white supremacists seizing on the Trump movement in hopes of getting more visibility for their own causes, said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups.
“They feel that their message is more palatable now that, in their view, a major political candidate is virtually saying the same things,” Potok said.
But while these groups may be getting more attention, they’re still fringe compared to Trump, who has the support of more than 40 percent of Americans, according to recent polling.
“The Klan and other groups have probably grown thanks to Trump,” Potok said. “But the claims that they’ve recruited thousands and thousands and thousands of people as a result of Trump’s candidacy and the whole politics of the last year are clearly false.”
Trump’s campaign pushed back on the KKK newspaper’s endorsement, saying in a statement late Tuesday that “their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are united behind our campaign.”
This story has been updated to include the Trump campaign’s statement.
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Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.