With Chelsea Manning released from military prison this week, “alt-right” activist Richard Spencer reminded his followers on Twitter that he has long been a Manning supporter of sorts — seeing her as an anti-government icon.
“Manning was heroically brave. She risked her life to oppose and expose a system she viewed as evil,” Spencer wrote in a January blog post on his website Altright.com. He reposted the article this week.
“The system Manning opposed hates us,” he went on. “Manning thus contributed to the de-legitimization of the American empire, just as she was a symptom of it.”
Manning was known as Bradley Manning in 2010 when she was arrested and accused of sending archives of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. After her trial in 2013, Manning announced she was a transgender woman and changed her name to Chelsea.
Spencer’s support may seem unlikely given that many conservative writers made a habit of ridiculing Manning, particularly because she is transgender. For example, The Blaze’s Matt Walsh wrote on Twitter in January: “So, if I’m understanding this correctly, a man is allowed to commit treason so long as he pretends to be a woman afterwards?”