In the early hours of Wednesday morning, as Donald Trump’s unexpected win over Hillary Clinton was sealed by a concession call from the Democratic nominee, scores of Clinton supporters took to Twitter expressing shock and fear about what the future might hold.
“As a victim of sexual assault, I’m so scared of what’s going to happen to this country,” one user wrote.
“I can’t stop crying,” said another. “I’m so scared for all my fellow Muslims in America.”
Some users came with questions — “What does this mean for the LGBTQ community now?” “What’s going to happen to me and my family?” — while others expressed regret.
“We made jokes to cope with our fears,” one user posted shortly after Trump’s victory speech. “Now our fears are real.”
It was a cry for help at a time of deep division and extreme tension in the country, coming at the end of a bitter presidential contest that, for people of all political stripes, dragged on for far too long.
But for Andrew Anglin, publisher of the popular neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, it was an opportunity to inflict “punishment.”
In a post on the site Wednesday titled “I’m So Scared,” Anglin called on readers to “troll” liberals and Trump opponents in hopes of driving them to suicide. The post contained a list of tweets from people who said they were frightened by the outcome of the election, along with a meme that read, “your punishment must be more severe.”
“You can troll these people and definitely get some of them to kill themselves,” Anglin wrote. “Just be like ‘it’s the only way you can prove to the racists that Hillary was right all along.’”
He continued: ” ‘Mass Suicides After Trump Victory’ would be a headline the media would play up, but all it would do would demoralize the left even further.”
The post featured a cartoon image of Pepe the Frog — recently dubbed a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League — pointing a gun at a young woman wearing a blindfold with the word “slut” on it.
Some Daily Stormer readers appeared to act on Anglin’s advice. Many of the tweets had dozens of replies from users who made threatening, hateful or racially charged comments. Some people on the receiving end of the vitriol deleted their tweets after the post went live. But others fought back.
One user tweeted she was a “bisexual Mexican American” and said she was “scared for my future.” Trump supporters replied that the new administration would deport her.
“You have to go back,” user Fetrick Thehate told her, echoing remarks Trump made last year about deporting immigrant families.
“Go back where? I was born here,” she responded.
One pro-Trump user posted pictures under numerous tweets that encouraged people to slash their wrists. “Make it count!” the user said.
Another user told a woman who said she cried on election night to “get dressed and get in the oven.” The woman responded to that attack and others in a later tweet calling for peace:
In a separate post Wednesday titled “Dear Liberals: This is Now the Era of Revenge,” Anglin himself encouraged people who did not vote for Trump to commit suicide.
“We beat you. We beat you badly,” Anglin wrote. “And now that you are on the ground, we are going to keep kicking you in the head.”
“I have heard there are no tears in heaven,” he continued. “So you should probably just kill yourselves. And you should livestream it.”
The post featured pictures of Clinton supporters looking despondent, juxtaposed with pictures of Trump supporters celebrating.
Jennifer Soto Segundo, a Clinton backer in Orlando, told USA Today she received a barrage of violent tweets after Anglin’s posts were published, one of them telling her to step into a gas chamber.
“I can’t fathom how these people have not only a hate website, they’re saying, ‘Hey go bully these people who have their own opinions. Let’s push them to their breaking point because I think it’s funny and it’s for my entertainment,’ ” Soto Segundo said. “It’s childish and manipulative. These grown men and children should be ashamed of themselves.”
Anglin did not immediately respond to an email from The Washington Post seeking comment on Thursday.
Named after the Nazi newspaper “Der Stürmer,” the Daily Stormer is one of the most widely read sites of the alt-right, a largely online movement of far right-wing communities that has emerged in recent years as a reaction to mainstream conservatism. The site bills itself as “the world’s #1 alt-right and pro-genocide website” and regularly features slur-laden anti-Semitic articles and reports about black-on-white crimes. A disclaimer on the home page says it is opposed to violence and seeks “revolution through the education of the masses.”
Anglin, who is in his early 30s, founded the Daily Stormer in 2013 as an outlet for meme-type content and quick-hit posts related to the white supremacist movement, after running “Total Fascism,” a site that featured longer essays.
“My ideology is very simple,” he told the Los Angeles Times last year. “I believe white people deserve their own country.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Anglin a “self-professed National Socialist” and has labeled the Daily Stormer a neo-Nazi hate site. In a post on its Hatewatch blog last year, the center said the Daily Stormer often beat out the white nationalist Web forum Stormfront as the most trafficked hate site on the Internet.
Anglin has long been a fan of Trump, although he said he disagrees with the president-elect on some issues. He endorsed Trump for president last June, and in subsequent posts praised his hard-line stance on immigration, his amicable remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his proposals to ban Muslims from the United States. Anglin also cheered Trump’s endorsement by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
At first, Trump did not distance himself from Duke, but he eventually disavowed him. When the KKK’s official newspaper ran a front-page defense of Trump last month, the campaign moved more quickly, saying Trump “denounces hate in any form. This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign.” In an interview with CNN in February, Trump said, “I know nothing about white supremacists.”
Anglin’s posts came as suicide hotlines reported a surge in calls and texts on Tuesday and Wednesday, many from people distraught over the election results, as The Post reported. One organization, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said it received 660 calls between 1 and 2 a.m. Wednesday, more than 2 1/2 times the average.
“We didn’t see numbers like this in 2008 or 2012,” Lifeline director John Draper told The Post. “This was an extraordinary year by any stretch of the imagination.”