The staff at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday urged all Americans to "confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech" following Donald Trump's election.
Officials at the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, released their statement after white nationalists with the think tank National Policy Institute (NPI) converged on the capital this weekend for a conference to celebrate Trump's victory. In the days after his win, swastika graffiti was discovered in multiple parks and playgrounds across the country.
"Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail our victory!" Richard Spencer, the NPI's leader, told conference members on Sunday night, as seen in video published Monday by the The Atlantic, as people in the crowd made Nazi salutes.
"America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said in a speech to the conference. "It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us."
As he discussed the media, Spencer said, "One wonders if these people are people at all? Or instead soulless golems animated by some dark power to repeat whatever talking point John Oliver stated the night before." (A golem is a creature from Jewish folklore.)
The Holocaust museum staff said they were "deeply alarmed at the hateful rhetoric" on open display at the conference, comparing some of Spencer's remarks to those of Adolf Hitler.
"[Spencer's] statement that white people face a choice of 'conquer or die' closely echoes Adolf Hitler’s view of Jews and that history is a racial struggle for survival," the museum staff said.
"The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words," the statement read. "The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech."