A North Carolina chapter of the Ku Klux Klan announced it will hold a rally in December to celebrate Donald Trump's presidential victory, in what a national hate-tracking group called the latest evidence that white supremacist groups are feeling emboldened since the election.
Calls are now growing for Trump to speak out against a string of hateful incidents across the country since his election.
The Loyal White Knights of Pelham, North Carolina, one of the largest Ku Klux Klan groups in the U.S., said on its website it will hold the event on Dec. 3. The time and location of the event were not listed. The group is based in Pelham, a small, unincorporated community in Caswell County near the Virginia border. It organized a rally in South Carolina last year protesting the removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol building.
A phone call to the number on the group's website was not immediately returned. Caswell County Chief Deputy Scott Halbrook said Monday the sheriff's office doesn't have any credible information that the parade will happen in the county and that the group did not take out a permit for the event in the area. He said it's possible they plan to hold the event elsewhere.
The official newspaper of the the KKK, The Crusader, endorsed Trump for president days before the presidential election and Trump's campaign was quick to reject the support.
"Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form. This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign," the campaign said then in a statement.
Trump was previously criticized for being slow to condemn former Klan leader David Duke after he gave the candidate his backing. The Republican has also repeatedly retweeted messages from white supremacist sympathizers.
Duke celebrated Trump's win over Democrat Hillary Clinton, tweeting early Wednesday, "This is one of the most exciting nights of my life. Make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!"
Ryan Lenz, spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and crimes, said Trump's election "has ripped opened wounds of racial resentment in this country, wounds we thought were healed or we were working to heal for some time."
The SPLC has received reports of 200 racially-tinged incidents and hate crimes from across the U.S. since the election and it's working to review them and understand what is going on, Lenz said.
He added that the KKK and other white supremacist groups feel legitimized by Trump's victory: "The fact is they are once again going to march on the street and celebrate Trump’s victory is proof positive that Donald Trump's campaign has legitimized extremist ideologies in this country so much that they are no longer relegated to the fringes of American society."
Trump has not commented on the hate crime incidents and his presidential transition team has not responded to NBC's requests for comment on Thursday and Friday. In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes," Trump said he did not hear about the violence and harassment in his name or directed at his supporters, other than "one or two instances."
"I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together," Trump said in addressing his supporters.
He added: "I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it-- if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it."
The president-elect did tweet about protesters who have held demonstrations across the U.S. against his presidency. In one tweet he said the protesters were "incited by the media." In a follow up tweet Friday morning, he struck a more conciliatory tone, saying "Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!"
While most of the anti-Trump rallies were peaceful, police in Portland, Oregon, said a rally there overnight Thursday turned into a "riot" when some protesters carrying bats smashed car and store windows and lit fires. Early Wednesday, protesters in Oakland, California, smashed windows at the Oakland Tribune newsroom, and set tires, trash and newspaper stands on fire there and in Berkeley.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said incidents of vandalism from anti-Trump protesters also are a "troubling" trend.
Greenblatt added he's not surprised by KKK's move and their attempt to gain publicity by exploiting the presidential election. He said other white supremacist groups are also celebrating Trump's victory.
James Edwards, a white supremacist who runs “The Political Cesspool, a radio show based in Tennessee, wrote about Trump’s opponents, “I hope President Trump shows them no mercy. Don’t be magnanimous, Mr. President. Crush the defeated, especially those in the media, and Make America Great Again!”
Lenz said The Daily Stormer, the most influential Neo-Nazi website, put out a call Thursday to harass Hispanic and Muslim immigrants and to make them feel a genuine sense of fear.
SPLC published a petition Friday morning asking the president-elect to reject hate and bigotry. More than 17,000 people have signed it.
President Barack Obama, Clinton and other prominent Democrats have said they wished the billionaire businessman the best as he transitions to the presidency.
But departing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at Trump, saying in a statement that he has "heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics."
"Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America," he said.
He said that if Trump "wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately."