Donald Trump, Pepe the frog, and white supremacists: an explainer

That cartoon frog is more sinister than you might realize.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump’s son and one of his closest advisers posted an odd photo on their social media accounts:

This raised some important questions.

Why is there a frog standing directly behind Trump?

That’s Pepe. He’s a symbol associated with white supremacy.

Wait. Really? White supremacy?

That’s right.

Please explain.

Here’s the short version: Pepe is a cartoon frog who began his internet life as an innocent meme enjoyed by teenagers and pop stars alike.

But in recent months, Pepe’s been almost entirely co-opted by the white supremacists who call themselves the “alt-right.” They’ve decided to take back Pepe by adding swastikas and other symbols of anti-semitism and white supremacy.

“We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” one prominent white supremacist told the Daily Beast.

Trump has retweeted his white supremacist supporters with regularity, but the connection between the alt-right and his campaign continues to strengthen. Trump has been slow to disavow support from Ku Klux Klansmen and white supremacy groups, and he recently hired Breitbart.com’s Steve Bannon as his campaign CEO (and Bannon isn’t shy about the fact that his “news” organization is the “platform for the alt-right”).

Now white supremacists have given Pepe the cartoon frog some Trump hair—and the candidate’s own son says he is “honored to be grouped with” him.

Let me get this straight: Trump’s presidential campaign is posting memes associated with white supremacy online?

Yes.

But it’s just his son and one of his closest advisers, right?

Nope.

Just curious: Who else is in this photo?

Notably, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes the government was behind the 9/11 (and that Newtown was “completely fake”), and Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, whose racism and bigotry is so egregious that Twitter banned him from using their site.

This is horrifying.

Yes.

What can I do?

Vote.

Share this article:

Up Next

There’s a reason why white supremacists like Donald Trump.