NEW YORK – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump retweeted an account called “@WhiteGenocideTM” on Friday, prompting a backlash on social media over the real estate billionaire’s sharing of an apparent neo-Nazi’s depiction of rival candidate Jeb Bush.
Trump, who is campaigning for the first contests on Feb. 1 in Iowa and Feb. 9 in New Hampshire, is known for attacking other candidates competing for the party’s nomination to run for the White House in November’s general election.
Trump retweeted Donald Trumpovitz, who uses the handle “@WhiteGenocideTM,” gives the location of the account as “Jewmerica” and features an image that references George Lincoln Rockwell, a prominent figure in the neo-Nazi movement in the United States.
The tweet read, “@realDonaldTrump Poor Jeb. I could’ve sworn I saw him outside Trump Tower the other day!” and included a altered image of Bush holding a “vote Trump” sign.
Tim Miller, communications director for Bush, tweeted in response on @Timodc: “The Godwin’s Double: Trump’s anti-Jeb retweets now include one from a Nazi’s account and another calling Jeb a Nazi.”
In November, Trump retweeted and then deleted a collage attacking former Florida Gov. Bush that featured a swastika.
Some on Twitter were appalled and perplexed by Friday’s retweet by Trump. He has not sought the backing of white supremacist groups, but several such groups say his success has helped them win new supporters.
Kris Hammond (@KrisHammond), who identifies himself as a civil rights attorney on Twitter, said: “#Trump retweets account with the words “white genocide” in the handle. Plays to #whitenationalism base.”
Natalie Borden (@Natalie_Borden) tweeted, “Guy, who likely will be a POTUS, retweeting a Twitter user named “White Genocide” who says he lives in “Jewmerica.” What a day…”
A week ago, a white supremacist group said it had placed thousands of automated phone calls in Iowa urging voters to support Trump’s bid for the Republican nomination because “we don’t need Muslims.”
The telephone campaign is led by the American Freedom Party, which on its website says it “shares the customs and heritage of the European American people.”