Before Trump was elected, white nationalists were thrilled. Former KKK leader David Duke supported him. The KKK newspaper officially endorsed him. The American Nazi Party chairman said in August that a potential Trump presidency would be "a real opportunity" for racists. After Trump was elected, white nationalists were even more excited. Calling the election "one of the most exciting nights of my life," Duke claimed. "Our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!" The KKK has planned a victory rally for Trump in North Carolina. And white nationalists are also ecstatic about Trump naming Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. Now, a video shows a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and waving a Donald Trump flag at a bonfire party in Connecticut.
According to the Washington Post, about 50 people went to a bonfire party on Saturday night in East Windsor, Conn. They drank beer, rode ATVs, and relaxed, as many young people do. But unlike most parties, this one is being investigated as a hate crime after one party-goer recorded a man in a KKK robe waving a Trump flag while riding around the bonfire on the back of a four-wheeler, which was driven by a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Police think other attendees might have been wearing white supremacist badges too.
East Windsor Detective Sgt. Matthew Carl called the video "disgusting" and "deplorable." He told the Washington Post, "Fear is fear. We can’t condone this behavior." But Carl also said that this wasn't a planned KKK rally. "There's no fliers, there's no preplanned 'let's have a KKK rally,'" he explained. "While they had the party, a couple of guys showed up. One of them had a hood and an outfit. They had Trump signs. They were chanting."
In a statement to Fox 61, the Anti-Defamation League said, "We do not believe that it is a real Klan rally, but we are troubled by what it represents which is the acceptance of hateful behavior by those who stood by and watched."
Nobody has been arrested or charged at this point, but police are looking into charges ranging from trespassing to underage drinking to violations of federal hate crime laws. Carl described the KKK and anything associated with it as a "symbol of hate," but the Hartford Courant reports that it's unlikely the man in the KKK outfit will face hate crime charges.
Unlike the local police, some local politicians are downplaying the incident. "I think it was just some young people who made a big mistake trying to get attention," East Windsor First Selectman Bob Maynard told the Hartford Courant. "I suspect they have no strong convictions and no really racial overtones—I think they were just enjoying the moment."
East Windsor, where 84 percent of the population is white, has had KKK rallies as recently as the 1980s.