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The Short Distance Between Dylann Roof and Donald Trump

In their rhetoric, the convicted mass murderer and the president-elect tapped the same deep strain of American racism.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Lexington, South Carolina.
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Lexington, South Carolina.YouTube/Red Arrow

The federal prosecutors who successfully got Dylann Roof convicted on all 33 counts of hate crimes and murder based much of their argument on the online manifesto the white supremacist posted shortly before he killed nine African Americans at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 15, 2015.

As Jamelle Bouie accurately noted in Slate yesterday, the sentiments Roof expressed in this document often mirror the ones that launched Donald Trump to the White House. One passage on “Hispanics” in Roof’s manifesto could have been lifted out of a Trump speech: “Hispanics are obviously a huge problem for Americans,” reads Roof’s document. “There is good White blood worth saving in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and even Brasil. But they are still our enemies.”