August 1 at 11:50 p.m.
A group of Washington, D.C.-area supporters of President Trump convened Wednesday night to watch a new film by a controversial New York Times–bestselling author with close ties to the president.
An audience of 32 gathered at the AMC Loews in Georgetown for Dinesh D’Souza’s new film “The Death of a Nation,” which portrays President Trump as a bulwark against a Democratic conspiracy to destroy Americans’ freedom.
Convicted of a felony in 2014 for illegal campaign contributions, D’Souza was pardoned by President Trump in May. In interviews and social media posts, he has recounted warm personal exchanges with the president.
D’Souza’s fourth political documentary since 2012 accuses Democrats and leftists of the very prejudice they claim drives conservative politicians and voters. Suzanne Monk, a resident of northern Virginia who organized the screening said, “All of us are just white supremacists and homophobes to Antifa and the Left.” Monk, a white comedian and podcast host who self-identified as bisexual, said that the left cries prejudice too readily. “‘You voted for someone, so you’re a racist,’” she said of criticisms she’s received from family, colleagues, and strangers.
Monk hosted the event with the MAGA One Radio Network, which she called a “rational counterpoint” to mainstream media. She and others had hoped D’Souza would attend their screening; he instead went to a private, red carpet event co-hosted by Donald Trump, Jr., who on Tuesday praised the film on Twitter.
“Death of a Nation” will premiere nationwide Friday, just eight days before a white nationalist rally is scheduled near The White House. President Trump drew criticism last year from leaders across the political spectrum for not holding white nationalists responsible for their August, 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which a counter-protester was killed and dozens were injured.
D’Souza’s film distances President Trump from white nationalism and inverts the left’s allegations of historic right-wing racism. One segment presents Democrat-led welfare initiatives as a “modern-day plantation system.”
James Bloom, a resident of Northeast D.C., said after the film, “You could definitely see parallels between progressivism and fascism.” Bloom, who is black, self-identified as a libertarian Trump supporter, but said he did not vote for Trump in 2016.
Poetry Sayer, a political consultant from Arlington, Va., said she was persuaded by D’Souza’s portrayal of an alleged connection between Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs and fascist regimes. “I didn’t know that the Nazis modeled their platform on the Democratic party,” she said. “I mean, it makes sense, but no one ever told me.”
D’Souza’s historical claims are “patently false, according Political Science professor George Michael of Westfield State University. A scholar of extremist movements, he noted that while many white nationalists continue to support Trump, apologists like D’Souza are attempting to decouple the two. “The ‘alt-right,’ is somewhat sympathetic to Dinesh because he attacks a lot of the same enemies, but nonetheless, he champions a colorblind America,” Michael said. “They’re not completely on board with what he [D’Souza] advocates.”
At a reception afterwards at Trump International Hotel, Monk acknowledged Trump’s alleged ties to hate groups. “We get tired of white nationalist groups glomming onto us,” she said. “But no matter how many times we disavow it, the media ignores us.”