We already know that Donald Trump has no problems at all with the idea of concentration camps, given his willingness to separate immigrant families and, in at least one instance, house migrant children on the site of a former World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans. And there’s this horrific tidbit in John Bolton’s upcoming tell-all: Trump reportedly told China’s President Xi Jinping that building concentration camps for Uighur Muslims was, in the words of the Washington Post, “exactly the right thing to do.”
And now it sure looks like Trump is leaning into a full-on embrace of Nazi ideology, including its symbols. As the progressive Jewish organization Bend the Arc shared on Twitter, the official Trump campaign Facebook page, as well as Trump and Mike Pence’s official Facebook accounts, have been posting and running a series of ads featuring an upside down red triangle, along with text warning darkly of the threat of “ANTIFA,” which they describe as “dangerous MOBS of far-left groups.” The upside-down red triangle, as Bend the Arc noted, is a “Nazi concentration camp symbol,” used to “mark political prisoners and people who rescued Jews,” specifically Communists, anarchists, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime.
This exact symbol, it should be noted, has no other widespread usage other than as a marker used by Nazis to denote political prisoners, and in particular leftist political prisoners. While the Washington Post identified other versions of Trump’s ad that used a yield sign as well as a stop sign, it seems obvious, given the linking of the image with the (fake) threat of “ANTIFA,” that this was a deliberate choice to invoke Nazi-era imagery.
Donald Trump has long fanned the flames of anti-Semitism, which is, as Eric Ward puts it, the “theoretical core” of white nationalist ideology in the United States. (Consider Trump’s recent praise of the noted anti-Semite Henry Ford’s “good bloodlines.”) If previously Trump and his campaign were happy with just emitting loud and extremely obvious dog whistles to fascism, white nationalism, and anti-Semitism, they’ve moved beyond that with Trump’s eagerness to use violence against protesters and now this. He’s just making it more obvious now.
Update (3:08 p.m.): Facebook has removed the Trump campaign ads with Nazi symbols, telling NPR, “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.” In a tweet, the Trump campaign claimed that the Nazi symbol was not only merely an “emoji,” but also a “symbol widely used by Antifa.” Make up your minds!!!