WNRI radio host John Dionne identifies himself as a white nationalist on the air

John Dionne
Share this story

“I would consider myself white nationalist,” said WNRI radio host John Dionne. “I consider white nationalist as somebody that’s proud of being American, proud of our country’s heritage. That’s what a nationalist is. Proud of America.”

John Dionne, who hosts a radio show every weekday on WNRI in Woonsocket, identified as a white nationalist on the radio Monday. Dionne is a former Woonsocket City Council President, director of human services and of public safety, and has been the “head” of 11 different civic organizations. In 2014 Dionne was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, and an athletic track has been named in his honor.

Dionne made his comments while talking about the second anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where white nationalists rallied and turned violent, resulting in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. At that time, President Donald Trump blamed the violence on both the white nationalists and the counter-protesters, saying that there were good people on both sides of the issue.

Dionne began his Charlottesville comments defending President Trump:

“I think on Charlottesville, what happened was, I can see, if you’re reading many of the comments, like at the end, there are some people yelling, chanting, ‘The Jews won’t replace us.’ You know, the problem you have with something like this is, let’s supposing I went to that rally, okay? And whatever side, I clearly would not want to take down Robert E Lee‘s statue, whether I’d fight about, I certainly would not.

“But if I’m standing – Let’s say I’m standing there, with my wife or I’m standing there with you, okay, and somebody next to us starts chanting that or says that – It doesn’t mean that we agree with the person, because we happen to be in the same group. We’re all there for different certain reasons. That’s wrong, okay?

“And I think that the President was trying to say, okay?”

Dionne then transitioned from a defense of the President to a declaration that he considers himself a white nationalist.

“The people that are defending – In the article they called them white nationalists. Well I would consider myself white nationalist. I consider white nationalist as somebody that’s proud of being American, proud of our country’s heritage. That’s what a nationalist is. Proud of America.”

Dionne then returned to his defense of the President, before taking a call:

“It doesn’t mean that I would fight and say some of the things that other people would be saying. I mean, it’s really something. Listen, he’s got a daughter and grandchildren that are Jewish. He’s not going to say that. That’s ridiculous, for crying out loud. That’s unbelievable. That these liberals, so out of – The progressives – I keep on using the word liberals – It’s not liberals. I consider myself somewhat liberal in many, many aspects, okay? A conservative liberal. [laughs] If you can understand that.”

WNRI also employs John DePetro, a radio shock jock known for making outrageous comments on the air.

This story will be updated once I hear back from the station manager at WNRI.

UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:
Become a Patron!


Share this story
retro
About Steve Ahlquist 1027 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com

8 Comments

  1. Does WNRI have advertisers? If so there should be a boycott effort unless they pull their ads from his show. Make them state whether or not they support these statements and hold the accountable.

  2. Not only a bigot, but stupid. First of all, one does not have to be a ‘white nationalist’ (supremacist) to be proud of this country. Second, this country was built on the back of slave labor and millions of immigrants. Mr. Dionne, due to the first amendment, will more than likely remain on the air to spew his hate, but as Mr. Scott asks, who are the sponsors and advertisers? They’re the ones we should address,

  3. Unfortunately, this blatant stupidity is ubiquitous in American society today, especially amongst older, white people.
    I’m hoping younger generations will replace racist dinosaurs like Dionne.

  4. DiPetro and Dionne are Limbaugh wannabes who are just ignorant and will say anything just to stir things up. They’re irresponsible, irrelevant, and need to be put out to pasture. Conservative talk radio does nothing to advance the conversation around any issue. They’re only interested in getting their listeners into heated arguments.

  5. John Dionne is a racist, clearly states that he is. As for John DePetro, I have appeared on his show a number of times. I find him to be a bigot and an idiot who is probably a coward personally but advocates for violence always. WNRI advertisers should be boycotted.

  6. Maybe Dionne is trying to aggressively redefine “white nationalist” as meaning “a nationalist who is white” rather than the normal meaning of “a person whose nationalism is devoted to white people”. I see how that could work as a technical matter of grammar, but if he’s trying to introduce a new meaning of the phrase in this way, it feels deceptive. It’s like saying “I’m a racist because I like racing, so there’s nothing wrong with being a racist.”

  7. As a Trump supporter who calls himself a Nationalist, I mistakenly used white because I am white. I had no idea what it meant or it would not have been I said. MY 40 YEARS OF DEDICATION TO MY CITY BY HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED OF ALL COLORS. MY RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF WHICH IS AVAILABLE ON MY JOHNRDIONNE.COM YOUR ARTICLE IS FAIR EXCEPT FOR THE CONCLUSION. I AM NOT NOW OR EVER BEEN A RACIST WITH MANY DEAR FRIENDS OF DIFFERENT NATIONALITY’S.IF YOU LISTEN TO THE 2 MINUTE CLIP YOU WILL HEAR NO REMARKS AGAINST ANYONE. IF I WASN’T A NATIONALIST I WOULD NOT HAVE JOINED THE U. S. Navy. AND FINALLY, I DID SAY IT. BUT THEN CLEARLY DEFINED WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE A WHITE NATIONALIST WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT DEFINITION IS BEING USED. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

    • John,
      I listened NRI for many years, and even called into your radio show quite often long ago, during the G. W. Bush years.

      I imagine you can’t have understood what “white nationalism” meant when you said it.

      It is very important that you understand that a “white nationalist” is what most people would consider a “neo-nazi”
      (Many white nationalists will tell you otherwise, but the differences between them are so minor that they honestly do not matter.)

      White nationalist means you want to live separately from people of other races.
      There are some “white nationalist” groups that hope to provoke a race war that will lead to full political revolution in the US.

      Others hope to form a break-away country in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington state) that will be whites-only.

      The young man who recently shot Wal-mart shoppers in El Paso is a white nationalist, as is the jackass who wore body armor to hunt unarmed children on an island in Norway.

      No one should want to rehabilitate that term, John.

      ***It would be appropriate to explain that you didn’t understand this, sincerely apologize, and leave it there***

      It is also worth knowing that Nationalism has some very negative historical connotations and associations, too.

      If what you want to say is that you’re a PATRIOT, I would use that label instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.