A BuzzFeed journalist said Tuesday that focusing on the “victims of communism” is a talking point used by white nationalists following the Trump administration’s commemoration the same day.
Blake Montgomery, a San Francisco-based reporter covering protests and white nationalists in the U.S., made the remark on Twitter Tuesday, sparking mockery and criticism for minimizing the suffering caused by communism in the world.
“‘Victims of Communism’ is a white nationalist talking point. Trump just made Nov 7 Natl Day for Vics of Communism,” Montgomery tweeted, suggesting the Trump administration are pandering to white nationalists by honoring the victims of communist oppression.
The White House commemorated the victims on Tuesday, releasing a statement reading: “(November 7), the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia.
“The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.”
It added: “Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation.”
Montgomery was widely criticized on social media, including by BuzzFeed world editor Miriam Elder, who said that “There are plenty of people who are not white nationalists who think this should be commemorated. Soviet oppression was real.”
The reporter eventually deleted the comment and apologized, saying he misinterpret the president’s declaration and he did not mean to minimize the suffering of victims of communism.
“I didn’t mean in any way to diminish the many real victims of communism, and my tweet was a bad misinterpretation of the president's declaration. I've deleted it,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “I cover white nationalists, and they use that language a lot, which is why I made that very dumb mistake.”