This is really just plainly silly. Say you’re not a part of the alt-right. Fine. Say it’s a smear. Fine. Say any of the million other things Trump has said about every other angry, violent demographic riding on his coattails. But acting like you don’t even know what it is? Come on, guys.

The whole denunciation and distancing game is silly in politics because politicians rarely offer a substantive denunciation. They rarely return donations or turn away volunteers, for example. With Trump it is even more absurd, since everything he ever says only has about a ten minute shelf-life before he says the opposite.

So there really is no reason at all for Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, to have said this yesterday:

Conway said she isn’t “that familiar” with the alt-right movement, a sect of hardcore conservatism often associated with white nationalism, though she has read about it. She said the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign has never discussed the movement internally, noting the campaign is “not at all” a platform for it.

“It certainly isn’t part of our strategy meetings. It’s nothing that Mr. Trump says out on the stump,” Conway said.

And no reason for Donald himself to have said this:

“Nobody even knows what it is,” he says.

One website seems to think they know exactly what it is. It’s a place Trump and Conway are certainly intimately familiar with. A place that was, until recently, run by Trump’s latest big, ridiculous hire, Stephen K. Bannon.

Bannon ran Breitbart.com, a site that courted the alt-right under his leadership and continues to do so today. They’ve written many articles on the subject. It’s a big part of the site’s success and their strategy going forward. But besides all the evidence, Bannon himself flat-out stated that Breitbart was home to the alt-right.

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July.

This is a game they are playing. An obvious one. They want the alt-right, they’re courting the alt-right, they consider it a core part of their “populist” movement. But they want to deny it. Why do they want to deny it?

Read this, from a leading alt-right website’s response to Hillary’s speech condemning their movement.

Of course they want to deny courting … that.

You’ll notice in the first graphic above that they state “Mr. Trump is not part of the alt-right. It is illogical, inaccurate, and unfair to hold Mr. Trump responsible for the views of his supporters.” See, the denial goes two ways. That’s also part of the game. They don’t care if they are denounced, they only care if they get what they wish. (And as far as their wish for major media exposure, they have gotten it thanks to Hillary.) The alt-right are happy to allow “Mr. Trump” the fiction of his disavowal if it helps him get elected. In fact, they say so openly:

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It should be noted that the above cited alt-right sources are mentioned by Milo Yiannopoulos in Breitbart’s articles explaining/excusing the alt-right. Again, Bannon’s Breitbart. Again again, Bannon being Trump’s new campaign CEO. This isn’t high level math.

So come on, guys. You know who they are. They know you know they are. We know they know you know who they are. This is just … dumb.