A former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence spied a secret Neo-Nazi signal in how President Donald Trump chose to mourn the victims of the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and Austin, Texas.
Frank Figliuzzi, who is also an NBC News national security contributor, told MSNBC that the president might be dog-whistling white supremacists by choosing to fly the national flag at half-staff until August 8.
As the former FBI official explained in the broadcast, the number 88 holds symbolic importance for white supremacists because the letter H is the eighth letter in the alphabet. Thus, 88 is a stand-in for HH, which in turn is an abbreviation of Heil Hitler.
“The president said that we would fly our flags at half-mast until August 8, that's eight-eight,” Figliuzzi said. “Now I'm not going to imply that he did this deliberately but I am using this as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that is being demonstrated by the White House.”
Figliuzzi vacillated between laying the blame for the supposed snafu on the president, or his staffer. While he said he was “not going to imply that he did this deliberately,” he raised worries that “he’s rejecting the advice” from his staffers to choose a less controversial date.
"The president is either getting really good advice and rejecting it, or he’s getting really bad advice,” he said.
But the former FBI assistant director did not shy away from explicitly accusing the president of, more generally, inspiring white supremacy through rhetoric and action.
“Our chief executive is seen as almost a mentor, a radicalizer,” he said.
Specifically, Figliuzzi said the president’s use of the collective voice dog-whistled his support for white supremacy. The president should have said “I condemn white hate ideology” rather than “the nation must condemn it,” according to Figliuzzi.
The MSNBC segment has inspired much scorn and ridicule from conservative Twitter.
Frank Figliuzzi, fmr Asst Counter Intel Dir of FBI, dropped a thot bomb tonight on MSNBC. DT said that flags would fly at half mast until Aug 8 (8/8/19). 88 is important in Nazi lore because H is the 8th ltr of the alphabet. 88 stands for Heil Hitler! Who wrote today's speech?— Janet Smith (@jksmith18) August 6, 2019
WINNER! Craziest thing ever said on TV: MSNBC regular Frank Figliuzzi claims that Trump ordering flags at half mast until Thursday was secret "HEIL HITLER!" signal.https://t.co/65FM9AMGhK— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 6, 2019
Figliuzzi responded to Ann Coulter's criticism, saying he never said Trump deliberately chose the date — even though he repeatedly emphasized that Trump may have "rejected" advice from those who chose against August 8.
Dear craziest person on TV, listen carefully; I clearly said I’m not saying Trump did this deliberately, I’m saying he needs advice on how extremists will interpret raising the flag on 8/8. He needs advice on putting out the fire he started. Are you part of that solution?— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) August 7, 2019