CANONSBURG, Pa. — Donald Trump Jr. does not appear to know the name of Pepe the Frog, but that has not stopped establishment journalists (and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign) from accusing him of spreading a “white nationalist meme.” Which Pepe is not.
On Sunday, Trump shared a meme on his Instagram riffing on Hillary Clinton saying that half of Trump supporters are “irredeemable” and fall into several categories of “deplorable” thought crimes. The photoshopped movie poster places the heads of various Trump backers on the bodies of Expendables characters — including Trump Jr. and Breitbart’s own Milo Yiannopoulos. One of the “Deplorables” on display is Pepe, the web-famous cartoon frog, tweaked to resemble Donald Trump.
View this post on Instagram
A friend sent me this. Apparently I made the cut as one of the Deplorables😂😂😂 All kidding aside I am honored to be grouped with the hard working men and women of this great nation that have supported @realdonaldtrump and know that he can fix the mess created by politicians in Washington. He's fighting for you and won't ever quit. Thanks for your trust! #trump2016 #maga #makeamericagreatagain #basketofdeplorables
This post sent the left into a frenzy, because they believe that Pepe is a symbol for the alt-right, white nationalists — whatever Deplorables you can think of. And it gets better! Two (maybe) alt-right guys punked them into that belief.
These Twitter trolls, @JaredTSwift and @PaulTown_, told the Daily Caller News Foundation this week what was obvious from the start — that they baited the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi into printing the most ridiculous quotes they could think up for a Pepe/white nationalism “explainer” this past May. Nuzzi cited these two as authorities on the subject, knowing nothing about their identities except what they told her over Twitter DMs. They now say most of the info they gave her was false.
Everyone from Hillary for America to Vice to Esquire to The Atlantic to Vanity Fair ran with the troll, with several of them citing Nuzzi’s credulous “report” directly. The sub-heading on the Clinton campaign website read: “That cartoon frog is more sinister than you might realize.” It was Reefer Madness for the microaggression era.
In a Wednesday interview, Trump Jr. seemed perplexed by the weekend’s controversy. “I don’t even know what they’re talking about,” he said when asked about the backlash. “I shared a picture on — oh, I think I saw that. Something about a frog or whatever? I shared a picture — it was a frog, it looked like it had a wig on.”
Trump launched into a monologue about the left accusing his father of racism, saying that many of these critics are overlooking a color-blind past simply because of his presidential run.
That’s the thing — everything’s racist these days. EVERYTHING is racist! And if you’re not a racist, you’re a homophobe or a bigot, or D, all of the above. That’s how ridiculous it is.
When you look at my father — when you look at the people he’s been around, they were all his fans. You had Jesse Jackson saying, “Trump did all this for us with 40 Wall Street” 25 years ago. And all of a sudden, now you’re a conservative? “Oh, now we forgot you.” All the celebrities.
There’s been a bunch of athletes that have come out that have actually still been for us. I used to go to Disney World with Herschel Walker back in the USFL days. My dad’s such a racist that he would let his son, at six years old, go to Disney World with Herschel Walker. That’s how stupid the dialogue has gotten.
[Since this interview, reporters have blasted Trump Jr. for using the phrase “gas chamber,” which he says is a reference to capital punishment and not the Holocaust.]
He then blasted “safe space” / trigger warning culture, calling perpetually offended young adults a symptom of a weak and broken society:
Everything’s a trigger point. I read an article the other day about a kid at an Ivy League school crying because someone wrote in chalk, “Trump 2016.” They had to go see counseling. What does that child do? Well, he’s not a child anymore; he’s an adult, he’s in college. What does that person do when they enter the real world and they hear something that may not be great news? What has become of our society?
Breitbart News’ late founder Andrew Breitbart used to tease author Touré Neblett, saying he would someday host a TV show called “That Broccoli’s Racist!” How strange and wonderful it is that, just four years after Andrew’s passing, this joke has become so prophetic. Not just one cable news personality but the entire NY-DC-LA print world is saying, with 100% seriousness, “That Cartoon Frog Is Racist!”