The confidence Donald Trump's election has given white nationalist groups is expected to culminate this weekend with a Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina. The white supremacist group, which is infamous in American history for brutal lynchings of black people and cross burnings, has planned the Saturday event in an undisclosed location and even featured the president-elect’s image and a version of one of his best known campaign lines — “law and order” — on its website prominently.
Trump, who received the endorsement of the KKK and one of its former leaders David Duke while on the campaign trail, has formally denounced support from the group. However, the Klan seems to feel as though it has an ally headed into the White House. The group’s Saturday rally was expected to come on the heels of a burgeoning membership for the organization, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
“Our membership grows by the day,” Gary Munker, who said he is a spokesman for the KKK, told AFP. Munker indicated that Trump’s election was a sign that people are beginning to “wake up” to what America has become, which may be a reference to an America that is increasingly diverse with a decreasing proportional population of white people compared to minorities.
It would take a lot of registrations to bring the Klan back to its former prominence, however. Its current membership of 6,000 people falls well shy of the 40,000 members in the 1960s and the millions it had in the 1920s. The organization has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for targeting Jews, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and black people.
Much of Trump’s election coverage has centered on the rise of a white supremacist political movement going by another name, the "alt-right." That group, given a platform by news organizations like Breitbart (which, in its posting of the AFP Klan story, appeared to try to downplay the emergence of the KKK) has secured strong representation in the Trump administration. Steve Bannon, a former executive at Breitbart, has been tapped for a key role in the White House come January.