The fractured elements of what was once called the alt-right were unified once more on Thursday night in condemning Donald Trump’s airstrike in Syria as a mistake.
This loose confederation of Web-savvy, anti-establishment right-wingers formed an important vanguard of Trump’s online support in last year’s election, and its unified opposition to the airstrike forewarns a political downside to intervention in Syria.
In reacting to the airstrikes, leaders of the movement placed those ideological reflexes over their personal loyalty to Trump.
Just days after Donald Trump Jr. suggested he be given a Pulitzer Prize, Cernovich tweeted, “Sources telling me U.S. attack in Syria planned for tonight, we must stop! #NoMoreWar,” at 7:40 pm Eastern time, an hour and a half before NBC News broke the news of the airstrike.
“I’m going to wait and see. Perhaps Trump is slapping Assad across the nose and won’t go further. Perhaps Russia was informed of the attacks. Worst-case scenario: We’re replaying the 2000s: A conservative comes to office on a populist message and becomes a globalist and neocon shill. Again, I’ll wait and see but I’m prepared to denounce Trump.”
Spencer was not alone in vacillating between condemnations of the strike and expressing hope that Trump will not take further action against Assad. The anonymous alt-right Twitter troll Ricky Vaughn tweeted, “THERE IS NO ENDGAME IN SYRIA if we remove Assad. No leader that can hold together that country.” He also tweeted, “Hoping this is 88D chess giving Trump political space and an excuse for meeting with and negotiating with Putin.”
Over on The Donald subreddit, a central hangout for Trump’s alt-right fans, debate raged all night.
One poster attempted to douse the discontent by writing, “Calm the fuck down all you concern trolls. This isnt WWW3 – its trump putting America first. We need to stop Assad from killing his people. They flee and guess w they are going?” The /pol/ section of the message board site 4Chan, another hotbed of online Trump support, was similarly torn asunder by the news, with one poster writing, “/pol/ hates Trump now.