Loyalists of the self-described white nationalist, alt-right movement from around the country gathered in DC, Saturday afternoon, buoyed by the election of Donald Trump and optimistic that their controversial, offensive views such as calling for a white, Ethno-centric state were on the rise throughout the country, NPR reports.
"The alt-right is here, the alt-right is not going anywhere, the alt-right is going to change the world," Richard Spencer, head of the white nationalist think tank the National Policy Institute (NPI) said at a press conference.
About 300 people — split nearly evenly between conference attendees and protesters of the conference outside — were on hand at the downtown DC event.
The New York Times reports that intellectual leaders of the movement argue that they are merely trying to realize their desire for a white "ethno-state" where they can be left alone.
"I never thought we would get to this point, any point close to mainstream acceptance or political influence," Matt Forney, 28, of Chicago, told the Times. "The culture is moving more in my direction."
According to the Times, the white nationalist embrace of Trump was on display Saturday at the gathering, which was the annual conference of a group called the National Policy Institute.
"Guests nibbled on chicken piccata while discussing ways to reorient America's demographics. Many of the attendees, who were mostly white men, wore red 'Make America Great Again' hats. T-shirts emblazoned with Trump's face sold quickly, the newspaper reported.
The alt-right movement has gained attention and support throughout Trump's election and particularly through his appointment of Steve Bannon, the former head of alt-right friendly Breitbart News, to be a senior strategist in the West Wing.
Spencer, however, argued that Bannon wasn't fully representative of the alt-right movement either, but that it's "very hopeful for me that Bannon is at least open to these things."