- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2017

A news report about Russia’s alleged weaponization of social media has set off a spat between white nationalist Richard Spencer and Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican.

The row erupted Thursday morning after Mr. Spencer took aim at Mr. Sasse for tweeting a Reuters article about Russian internet trolls and continued into Friday afternoon after the lawmaker unleashed on the National Policy Institute president in the form of an 11-tweet-long Twitter tirade.

The Reuters report suggested that Russian trolls could be fueling the current debate about professional athletes’ national anthem protests, and Mr. Sasse shared it from his Twitter account in a tweet accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government of stoking “both sides of every divide” in American social discourse.

Mr. Spencer quoted the senator’s comment in a tweet of his own 30 minutes later, adding: “In the minds of goober conservatives, the Russians are to blame for racial divisions.”

Mr. Sasse responded about nine hours later in a scathing rant delivered over the course of nearly a dozen tweets mocking his new-fangled Twitter foe.

“Oh let goobers & nongoobers agree on this: Racists like you are to blame. But Putin’s agencies also love using you as their divisive too,” Mr. Sasse tweeted.

“Don’t get me wrong: we’ll always have brown-shirt-pajama-boy Nazis like you & your lonely pals stoking division. But here’s America 101,” the senator added before offering an online history lesson.

“You don’t get America,” Mr. Sasse said in one tweet. “Sadly, you don’t understand human dignity,” he said in another.

Mr. Sasse continued: “A person’s skin, ancestry, and bank balance have nothing to do with their intrinsic value. This declaration of universal dignity is what America is about. Madison called our Constitution ‘the greatest reflection on human nature.’ You talk about culture but don’t know squat about western heritage — which sees people not as tribes but as individuals of limitless worth. The celebration of universal dignity IS our culture, and it rejects your ‘white culture’ crybaby politics. It rejects all identity politics. Sometime after moving back into your parents’ basement, you knock-off Nazis fell in love with reheated 20th century will-to-power garbage. Your ‘ideas’ aren’t just hateful, un-American poison — they’re also just so dang boring. The future doesn’t belong to your stupid memes.”

“Get a real job, Clown. Find an actual neighbor to serve. You’ll be happier,” he concluded. “Have a nice day.”

Mr. Spencer tweeted Friday afternoon that he planned to address the senator’s comments in a future column.

Mr. Spencer, 39, gained prominence last year as a member of the budding “alt-right” movement, and has been labeled “one of the most successful young white nationalist leaders” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog that monitors hate groups. He had been scheduled to speak at last month’s “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, but the rally was canceled when attendees include white supremacists and neo-Nazis violently clashed with counterprotesters.

Three people, including two state troopers and a counterprotester, ultimately died in connection with the protest.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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