A noted white supremacist compared transgender people to Nazis following the groundbreaking wins by LGBTQ candidates in the 2017 special elections.
Richard Spencer, credited as a leader in the alt-right movement, tweeted a photo of Virginia’s Danica Roem next to German military officer Ernst Roëm, an early member of the Third Reich. The post points out that the two share a similar last name, despite the fact that their surnames are spelled and pronounced differently. (The Hitler ally’s last name is more like “room,” whereas hers is similar to “roam.”)
“Danica *Roem*,” Spencer posted at 9:37 p.m. on Nov. 7, shortly after Roem’s historic victory. “So I guess it is genetic.”
Danica *Roem*. So I guess it is genetic… pic.twitter.com/8M61mUvIm0
— Richard 🦃 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 8, 2017
Spencer, who was once punched in the face for his support of “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” wasn’t the only white supremacist to take exception to Roem’s victory in the Virginia special election. The former journalistwho campaigned for a seat in the House of Delegatesbeat her Republican opponent, Bob Marshall, by eight points. When she takes office, she will become the first openly transgender state representative in U.S. history.
Paul Ray Ramsey, an alt-right vlogger known as the “Smiling Nazi,” claimed that Roem’s decisive win was a sign that the United States is headed down the wrong path.
“America, it was nice knowing you!” he tweeted in response to a USA Today article about her.
America, was nice knowing you! https://t.co/GolZBNQ297
— RAMZPAUL (@ramzpaul) November 8, 2017
Even more mainstream factions of the conservative right had a difficult time processing (as well as correctly reporting on) the news. The pro-life website Lifesite refers to Roem as a “man” in a headlineabout the race, calling the politician “he” and “him” throughout the article. In addition to using her birth name, writer Claire Chretien claims that Roem mandated “transgender sex education for kindergarteners,” repeating a false allegation propagated by Marshall’s campaign.
The Federalist, a libertarian news website, says that Roem’s “claim to fame is transgenderism.”
Roem was one of several LGBTQ candidates who won their respective races on Tuesday. Victors included Washington’s Jenny Durkin and Minnesota’s Andrea Jenkins. Durkin will become Seattle’s first openly lesbian mayor, while Jenkins is set to become the first-ever transgender woman of color to hold public office in the U.S. She will serve on the Minneapolis City Council.