Donald Trump has disavowed the far-right movement that strongly supported his victory. His comments follow outrage at white supremacist Richard Spencer's recent speech, which concluded with Nazi-style salutes to Trump.
Speaking with reporters of the New York Times on Tuesday, Trump said he did not support the so-called 'alt-right' movement which had gathered in Washington last weekend to celebrate his electoral victory.
The billionaire businessman and US president-elect was pushed into a tight spot after the so-called National Policy Institute (NPI) held a conference on Saturday in Washington, close to the White House. The organization says it is dedicated to "the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world" and is part of the alt-right movement.
"I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn," a Times reporter tweeted Trump as saying.
When asked whether he felt he did things to energize the movement, the Republican said, "I don't think so."
Conference organizer Richard Spencer concluded his speech with the slogans, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory," echoing an English version of the Nazi salute "Heil." Some people in the crowd cheered and displayed the Nazi salute.
In an editorial on Tuesday, the Times described the congregation as a "very public coming-out party filled with racist and anti-Semitic filth" and said Trump had "a duty to unequivocally denounce its toxic propaganda."
NPI is a think tank known for promoting white nationalist views, and its president, Richard Spencer, has taken credit for coining the term "alt-right," a euphemism for far-right extremism in the United States.
Much has been made of the term in recent days, after Donald Trump tapped Stephen Bannon to be his chief strategist. Prior to the 2016 presidential campaign, Bannon served as the executive chair of Breitbart News - an outlet whose leaders have admitted that they "provide a platform" for the alt-right while denying that they espouse its views.
mg/kl (dpa, Reuters)