Spencer and others have said that he created the term "alt-right", which he considers a movement about white identity.Breitbart News described Spencer's website AlternativeRight.com as "a center of alt-right thought."
From March to December 2007, Spencer was assistant editor at The American Conservative magazine. According to founding editor Scott McConnell, Spencer was fired from The American Conservative because his views were considered too extreme. From January 2008 to December 2009, he was executive editor of Taki's Magazine.
In March 2010, Spencer founded AlternativeRight.com, a website he edited until 2012. He has stated that he created the term alt-right.
In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary (and because of the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years), after trying to organize the National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.
On February 23, 2017, Spencer was removed from the Conservative Political Action Conference where he was giving statements to the press. A CPAC spokesman said he was removed from the event because other members found him "repugnant".
During a speech Spencer gave in mid-November 2016 at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., Spencer quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German and denounced Jews. Audience members cheered and made the Nazi salute when he said, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" Spencer later defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of "irony and exuberance".
On January 20, 2017, Spencer attended the inauguration of Donald Trump. As he was giving an impromptu interview on a nearby street afterwards, a masked man punched Spencer in the face, then fled. A video of the incident was posted online, leading to divergent views on whether the attack was appropriate.
In 2013, a dispute at a ski club in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana, drew public attention to Spencer and his political views.
In 2014, local residents in Missoula, Montana, through the Whitefish City Council, initiated upon a non-discrimination resolution, and an organization called Love Lives Here, which is part of the Montana Human Rights Network, rallied against Richard Spencer's residency there.
In December 2016, Republican Representative Ryan Zinke, Republican Senator Steve Daines, Democratic Senator Jon Tester, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox condemned a neo-Nazi march that had been planned for January 2017. The community of Whitefish organized in opposition to the event, and the march never occurred.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Spencer has advocated for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture. To this end he has supported what he has called "the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent", an "ideal" that he has regarded as a "reconstitution of the Roman Empire." Prior to Britain's vote to leave the EU, Spencer expressed support for the multi-national bloc "as a potential racial empire" and an alternative to "American hegemony", stating that he has "always been highly skeptical of so-called 'Euro-Skeptics.'"
In 2013, the Anti-Defamation League called Spencer a leader in white supremacist circles and said that after leaving The American Conservative he rejected conservatism, because he believed its adherents "can't or won't represent explicitly white interests."
In one interview in which he was asked if he would condemn the KKK and Adolf Hitler, he refused, saying "I’m not going to play this game," while stating that Hitler had "done things that I think are despicable," without elaborating on which things he was referring to.
In a 2016 interview for Time magazine, Spencer said he rejected white supremacy and the slavery of nonwhites, preferring to establish America as a white ethnostate.
Spencer opposes same-sex marriage, which he has described as "unnatural" and a "non-issue," commenting that "very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking."
Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, Spencer barred people with anti-gay views from the NPI's annual conference in 2015.
Spencer supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and called Trump's victory "the victory of will," a phrase echoing the title of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, a Nazi-era propaganda film. Upon Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Spencer said Bannon would be in "the best possible position" to influence policy.
Mangan, Katherine. "A push to 'expand white privilege': Richard B. Spencer president, National Policy Institute, a white-supremacist group." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 9, 2016, A6+.
Zalman, Jonathan. "Neo-Nazi Website Tells Readers to 'Take Action' Against Jews on Behalf of Richard Spencer's Mother in Montana." Tablet Magazine, December 19, 2016. "Critics of Richard Spencer the white supremacist, alt-right leader who dreams of an "ethno-state"are making their voices heard..."
"Campus clashes as US white supremacist gives speech." London Evening Standard [London, England], 7 Dec. 2016, p. 22. "Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police at a protest against a white supremacist's speech at a leading American university. Richard Spencer, who gained notoriety for holding a so-called "alt-right" meeting celebrating Donald Trump's election triumph with Nazi rhetoric, told students attending the speech at the Texas A&M University last night: 'At the end of the day, America belongs to white men.'"
Gretel Kauffman, "White supremacists convene in celebration of Trump victory", Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2016. The annual conference of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, experienced a rise in attendance this year... 'It’s been an awakening,' Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, said at the conference."
^ abcdeWood, Graeme (June 2017). "His Kampf". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 16, 2017. In 2011, he moved from Washington to Whitefish, Montana, where his mother owns a vacation home and a commercial building. (She is the heiress to cotton farms in Louisiana, and his father is a respected Dallas ophthalmologist.)
^"Richard Spencer: A Symbol Of The New White Supremacy". Anti-Defamation League. May 14, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2017. In 2010 and 2011, leaders of the now defunct racist student group, Youth for Western Civilization, invited Spencer to speak at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and Providence College in Rhode Island.
^Spencer, Richard. "Richard Spencer's Full Q&A at Auburn University". YouTube.com. Retrieved 4 June 2017. Audience Member: Your ex-wife is a Russian American and you have a child together. Please explain that. Spencer: She's not my ex-wife. Audience Member: Or you're separated, right? Spencer: No. Audience Member: Okay, so the thing I said is that you are separated or whatever. So you're still together? Spencer: Yes
^Spencer, Richard. "The Alt Right and Secular Humanism". AltRight.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017. McAfee: Are you religious? Do you support the Separation of Church and State? Spencer: I’m an atheist.