Last month, Donald Trump tapped Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, to be his campaign’s new CEO. Today, Breitbart published an anti-Semitic screed against Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. Titled “WaPo’s Anne Applebaum Embarks On Kremlin-Style Disinformation Offensive vs. the Anti-Globalist Right,” the piece is a meandering, conspiratorial critique of Applebaum’s political stances. And as meandering conspiratorial pieces tend to do, it ultimately introduces its target’s Jewishness for no reason at all:
[H]ell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned. Following the fall from grace, Applebaum began utilizing her global media contacts, disbursing heavily curated and obfuscated “facts patterns” meant to construct an anti-democratic global news narrative depicting the new democratically elected Law & Justice government as far right fascists and illiberal anti-democrats.
Essentially, the piece is 1,400-word fever dream about a Jewish agent working for a globalist conspiracy. Rather than offering a serious critique of Applebaum’s views, it offers dark innuendo. And with the explicit invocation of her Jewishness, it abandons the dog whistle for the fog horn. (Unsurprisingly, the piece’s comments section is full of enthusiastic anti-Semites.)
The links between the Trump campaign and Breitbart are well known. Indeed, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart had become so pro-Trump that some staffers speculated it was being secretly funded by the candidate. Infamously, after Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski manhandled a Breitbart reporter at an event, the outlet refused to stand by her, even in the face of video evidence. After she quit the site, it began running attack articles against her. Meanwhile, Bannon boasted of making his site “the platform for the alt-right,” the anti-Semitic fringe that has played a disproportionate role in advocating for Trump online.
The appearance of blatant anti-Semitic propaganda on the Trump campaign’s surrogate site is still more evidence that a vote for Trump is a vote for mainstreaming anti-Semites and their invective. As I wrote after Donald Trump Jr. and Trump adviser Lt.-General Mike Flynn retweeted anti-Semites, “it is doubtful that any of them are personally prejudiced toward Jews.” But while Trump and his inner circle may not themselves be anti-Jewish,
The problem, rather, is that Donald Trump’s campaign attracts and is dependent on a hardcore base of anti-Semites. Which means his administration will be as well. Pro-Trump discourse, memes, and advocacy are disproportionately produced by racists, from Kevin McDonald to David Duke to the alt-right, and it is impossible to support the candidate without amplifying these bigoted boosters and their influence. To be sure, all political campaigns—left and right—inevitably attract fringe nuts, and it would be wrong to discredit a cause simply because some racists have attached themselves to it. But the bigots aren’t ancillary to Trump’s campaign; in many respects, they are his campaign.
This is not a hypothesis or supposition. It is a fact. A data-analytics firm has found that 62 percent of Donald Trump’s retweets come from white supremacists praising him. The campaign inadvertently selected an anti-Semitic white supremacist leader as one of its delegates in California, before media reports compelled them to withdraw him…
The elevation of these hateful voices has been disturbing enough during the campaign. But should Trump be elected, these are the people who will inevitably end up filling many of the hundreds of positions in his White House, given that most traditional Republican operatives refuse to work for him.
Breitbart’s anti-Semitic turn is still more proof that the more Trump goes mainstream, the more his bigoted supporters and their claims will as well.