Donald Trump
A leader of the alt-right, Richard Spencer, said he was 'disappointed' by Trump's comments Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Members of the alt-right movement in the USA have shown dismay at President-elect Donald Trump's pointed disavowal of the movement. During a contentious meeting with the New York Times on Tuesday 22 November, Trump replied "I disavow and condemn" when asked if he would condemn an alt-right meeting that took place in Washington DC over the previous weekend. There members gave Nazi salutes and shouted "Hail Trump".

A leader of the movement, Richard Spencer, told the Associated Press that he was "disappointed" by the president-elect's comments but said that he understood "politically and practically" why he had made them.

During the interview with editors, reporters and columnists at the Times, Trump said that he did not want to "energize" the group: "I'm not looking to energize them. I don't want to energize the group, and I disavow the group." Adding that he did not know where the group were in previous campaigns: "where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don't know, I had nothing to compare it to."

Trump also defended the appointment of Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist by saying: "I've known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him."

Bannon previously ran the Breitbart news site which he called "the platform for the alt-right."

The Guardian noted that many alt-right users of sites such as Reddit and 4chan had expressed dismay at Trump's comments. One post on Reddit's r/altright message board asked whether other users felt "bamboozled by the Donald".

The top comment reads: "You are fooled if you think Trump was going to give us some sort of permission slip to start cleansing America. He isn't our 'man on a white horse'."

Many of the other comments questioned whether Trump was alt-right in the first place. "Donald isn't alt-right, never was. He's a hell of a step in the right direction though." read one. Another said that Trump did not need to express support for the group: "We support him because he agrees with us on important policy goals, not because he flatters us."

Though a reply to that comment seemed more worried, asking whether there are "any clear examples that he's still with us".

What is the alt-right?

The alt-right is a loose collection of people with far-right views that came to prominence during Donald Trump's election campaign. Many members operating on sites such as 4chan and Reddit are known to profess views related to white supremacism, nationalism, anti-feminism and islamophobia, amongst others. There isn't really one defined core ideology to the movement, aside from a rejection of America's mainstream conservatism.

Sign against Steve Bannon's appointment
Demonstrators protest the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist to Trump's White House Getty

Alt-right members generally supported Donald Trump and hailed campaign promises to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and ban Muslims from entering the country.

The group have been particularly prominent with the rise of Steve Bannon as chief strategist to Trump's White House. Bannon was previously executive chairman of the Breitbart News website, which he once called "a platform for the alt-right" leading some to suggest that the movement now has a voice in the country's most powerful office.