WASHINGTON – Richard Spencer, who emerged in 2016 as a leader of the pro-white “alt-right” movement, was assaulted three times during interviews after President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremonies. Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, was confronted while walking away from the inauguration with a small documentary crew; another camera was rolling as a protester who concealed his face ran toward Spencer and punched him in the face.
Before the confrontation, Spencer had been among the masses on the Mall, and recorded Periscope videos with his analysis of the speech.
After the assault, Spencer recorded a longer video to explain what had happened. On his walk off the mall, “there was this screeching cat lady who seemed to recognize me,” he said. Spencer was surrounded, and gamely answering a question about his pin of Pepe the frog, when the protester jumped into the scrum and punched him.
“It didn’t really land,” Spencer recalled.
But later, the protester returned and caught Spencer off-guard. “He punched me basically with all his might, sucker-punched me in my ear,” he said. “I can’t hear too well out of my ear right now.”
In a text message, Spencer said he was doubtful that the assailant would be found. His dress resembled that of the “black bloc,” protesters who roamed the city on Friday, doing damage to property and seeking confrontations with police. Some, early in the day, carried a sign that read “Make Racists Afraid Again.”
In his Periscope rundown on the incident, Spencer acknowledged that the clip of the first punch might well be used to mock him. As of Friday evening, that was well underway.
“I assume that this will become the meme to end all memes,” he said.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day's top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter