One major topic of the 2016 Presidential Election was Donald Trump’s support from the “alt-right,” a racist and anti-Semitic movement led by white nationalists. Trump ostensibly embraced this support by selecting Steve Bannon, the ex-editor in chief of Brietbart, who is publicly nationalist.
Now that Trump has moved into the Oval Office, it would appear that he is fully acknowledging and accepting the support of the neo-Nazis. His new National Security Advisor, General Mike Flynn, basically confirmed this when he met with the leader of the far-right Freedom Party in Australia, Heinz-Christian Strache. Considering the Freedom Party was founded by displaced Nazis after Germany was defeated in World War II, it is understandable while this meeting could be troubling for many around the world.
According to the New York Times, Strache made his social media followers aware of the meeting through his Facebook page where he also announced the signing of a “cooperation agreement” between the Freedom Party and the nation of Russia. Strache noted his meeting with Flynn almost as a side note to the larger announcement of the Russian agreement.
With the prominence of Trump on the world stage, racist groups such as the Freedom Party have become more emboldened to spread their message of hate around the globe. The Freedom Party has a long history of this since it was formed in an effort to provide comfort and shelter for former Nazis and those who sympathize with them. The party rose in popularity during the tenure of then-leader Jorg Haider in the 1980’s. It was then that the Freedom Party took an extreme right-wing stance on immigration and gained increased support through populism. The New York Times compares Australia’s Freedom Party with America’s alt-right movement since the two groups share “anti-foreigner, anti-Islam, and anti-globalization” views.