Trump refuses to blame violence on far-right extremists who've been arrested
Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed violence on anti-fascists.
Right-wing extremists have been reported to have engaged in or tried to provoke violence at protests around the country in the wake of the killing of unarmed black Minneapolis resident George Floyd by a white policeman.
Donald Trump has ignored them, instead blaming any violence on anti-fascists.
“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists,” Trump claimed in late May. “The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups.”
“It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left,” he tweeted on May 30. “Don’t lay the blame on others!”
On June 1, Trump retweeted and endorsed a Fox News report that there were no “white supremest [sic] groups mixing in” at the protests and that it was “an ANTIFA Organization.”
Trump claimed in a tweet on May 31 that the United States would be designating anti-fascists a domestic “terrorist organization,” even though there is no legal mechanism for making such a declaration, and antifa is not an organization.
Court records and other files show little evidence that antifa-aligned protesters are behind violence occurring at protests.
There have, however, been numerous examples of far-right extremists attacking protesters and attempting to provoke violent clashes.
On Sunday, a man who identified himself as a KKK leader drove a truck into a crowd of peaceful protesters in Henrico County, Virginia. The man was arrested and charged with several felonies; the county is considering hate crime charges as well.
“The accused, by his own admission and by a cursory glance at social media, is an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology,” Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said.
On June 1, NBC News reported that the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, posing as an anti-fascist national organization, posted tweets urging protesters to go to white residential neighborhoods to “take what’s ours.”
On May 31, three Nevada men with ties to the right-wing anti-government “boogaloo” movement were arrested on terror charges. Prosecutors said they were planning to provoke violence during protests in Las Vegas.
On May 30, several people in Minneapolis reported that they saw a man with a far-right anti-government group’s logo on his truck attempt to set a liquor store on fire.
On May 28, a neo-Nazi reportedly attempted to exploit a racial justice protest by posting anti-police rhetoric online, including an image of a skull and the words “The only good cop is a dead cop.”
The same day, a far-right channel on the messaging platform Telegram reportedly broadcast to its 2,500 members that “a riot would be the perfect place to commit a murder.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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