Richard Spencer Plans Return to Charlottesville
White nationalist Richard Spencer has brought a trio of torch rallies to Charlottesville. Now, he says plan on seeing even more. In a rare interview, he spoke one-on-one with NBC29's Henry Graff about race, monuments, and Charlottesville.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - “We will be back again… and again, and again.”
White nationalist Richard Spencer has brought a trio of torch rallies to Charlottesville. Now, he says plan on seeing even more.
Spencer knows the law and how to use it to get what he wants. We saw that on Saturday, October 7, when he led a torch march to Emancipation Park, knowing the city’s top prosecutor couldn’t do a thing about it.
In a rare interview he spoke one-on-one with NBC29's Henry Graff about race, monuments, and Charlottesville. Spencer says history chose Charlottesville. For him, going to the University of Virginia and living here after graduation were also factors.
"We are not going away," he stated.
A stern warning from the leader of the National Policy Institute, Spencer says the scene of flames and fury and marching through the streets of Charlottesville will be repeated.
"It has become a touchstone - that name – Charlottesville now refers to a historic event.“
The event was the August 12 Unite the Right rally when white nationalists from at least 35 states converged on Emancipation Park.
The rally was set to protest Charlottesville City Council's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Violent clashes between demonstrators and counterdemonstrators canceled the rally before it started.
Spencer claims his views of white identity are being threatened.
"The monument issue isn't just about monuments. It's about history. It's about race. It's about identity,” he explained.
Spencer and others are vowing to come back to Charlottesville with smaller, unannounced rallies like the one on Saturday, October 7.
"That event was tightly coordinated, everyone was operating on a need-to-know basis and it was an operation,” he said.
According to Spencer, interest in the National Policy Institute in Alexandria has grown since the events of August 12. He didn't have specific numbers, but says his message is now reaching a larger audience.
"At some point, you know, one can't stifle an idea whose time has come,” he stated.
Spencer admits the torch rallies are meant to make a splash, give them an image, and communicate a message through the media who cover it. And just like his warning about coming back, Spencer feels just as confident about moving his message forward.
"They’re going to lose because I understand how to play this game,” he said.
Spencer says he admired the Robert E. Lee statue when he lived here and the debate over it gave him an opportunity, which he seized.
Spencer says torches aren’t intimidating; in fact, he described them as beautiful, magical and mystic.
"We want to do activism that is symbolic, that's mystical and magical and even primitive. Torches - fire at night - torches - it connects me with something deep in our soul, something deep in our history. So I think it's absolutely beautiful."
Spencer says they aren’t planning rallies like the one on August 12 anymore, adding that the secret rallies are simple and effective.