President Donald Trump was preaching to his choir at a recent speech for a convention of young Conservatives—but he may have gotten too comfortable.
In a rambling speech for Turning Point USA, Trump addressed everything from his usual talking points of economy and regulations to freedom of expression on college campuses to his recent pattern of attacking four Democratic congresswomen of color colloquially known as “The Squad.”
Among them is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known to supporters and detractors alike as AOC, and as Trump was referencing her, people noticed Trump make a disturbing hand gesture.
See if you can spot it below:
Either trump just made a 3 pointer or he's blatantly giving the white power hand gesture.. I don't know, what do you guys think? pic.twitter.com/LGmB0yR42I
— Thomas Jimenez (@tjimenez23) July 23, 2019
What was known in the days of innocence as the “Okay” symbol has now been co-opted as a “white power” symbol by the alt-right and other white supremacist Trump supporters.
The ADL defines the gesture Trump makes in this video as a white power hand gesture. After everything that‘s happened in the past weeks, are we going to pretend he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing? https://t.co/QuQT8E3zQW https://t.co/23F3c8byd9 pic.twitter.com/t19IWYngn4
— Adam Jentleson 🎈🐢 (@AJentleson) July 23, 2019
Though people sometimes make the gesture innocuously, there’s been a common pattern of the gesture’s deliberate use by white supremacists and nationalists.
— Rex Doctor (@RexDoctor) July 23, 2019
It's not even the white power hand gesture that makes Proud Boys so f'ing gross, it's the face they make when flashing it at cameras. It's them saying, go head and call this what it really is, cause willfully ignorant people, who have our back, will excuse it away as an ok sign. pic.twitter.com/u5MXOztdtq
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) June 18, 2019
While the symbol’s former meaning of “okay” grants a level of plausible deniability to its users, some feel that Trump was being deliberate here.
It’s a white power symbol, invoked by Trump as he mentions the name of a woman of colour.
But hey, don’t worry: Obama once saluted a Marine with a coffee cup in one hand and it was a proper controversy for days. https://t.co/44uXMpBtuT
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) July 24, 2019
Many of #Trump’s supporters won’t recognize the blatant use of the #whitepower gesture, but for those who do, it’s a clear sign of #solidarity & a green light for them to continue their #racist #hate-mongering behavior.
Real problem, absolutely nothing will be done about it.
— Cathy O'Neill (@CAO916) July 24, 2019
I mean. What else could this possibly mean? The @POTUS is a white supremacist.
— Accidental Dread (@AccidentalDread) July 24, 2019
ABSOLUTELY that was for his Nazi buddies since it was DELIBERATE hand up/symbol/hand down.
That's not his usual little thumb & first finger *pinched* together waving back & forth when he's making a point.
That was the most perfect WP sign I've ever seen from him.
— FactsOrFables (@FactsOrFables4U) July 24, 2019
The organization Trump was speaking to—Turning Point USA—has had its own white supremacy problems in the past.
A video showing a Turning Point USA leader declaring "white power" while his compatriot spouts racial slurs is just the tip of the white supremacist iceberg for the college Republicans group. https://t.co/ZWvuukwTxg
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) May 11, 2019
Turning Point USA has axed ties with a University of Nevada Las Vegas campus leader who was filmed saying "white power" with a young woman who used racial slurs.https://t.co/11cdcbDFBh
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) May 10, 2019
Woah, would you believe another Turning Point USA member used racial slurs in recently surfaced electronic communications? Crazy? https://t.co/SBBmhhnPRF
— Charlie J. Johnson (@Charliemagne) May 23, 2019
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has yet to respond to the signal itself, though she continues to speak out against Trump’s racist rhetoric.