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Pro-Trump insurrection at US Capitol, January 6, 2021

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Analysis published by the Washington Post on Monday shows that in 2020, Donald Trump's last year in the White House, the number of far-right domestic terrorism incidents in the United States hit a 26-year high.

The Post analysis, based on data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, found that in 2020, there were 73 incidents carried out by extremists on the far right, the most since the center began keeping statistics on domestic terrorism in 1994.

The report also noted a new high in the number of left-wing attacks, but said that attacks from the right were "still the much larger group." Over the last quarter-century, the study shows, right-wing attacks and plots were far more frequent than attacks from the left and caused many more deaths.

The center reported 25 left-wing attacks in 2020.

While in the White House, Trump ignored the threat of right-wing terrorism and spent his time demonizing the movement of left-wing opposition to white supremacy and fascism known as antifa.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has released and expanded grants from the Department of Homeland Security to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prevent domestic terrorism, funds that had been held up or redirected by Trump's team.

The center released a report on Monday titled The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States, stating, "The data indicate that U.S. military personnel have been involved in a growing number of domestic terrorist plots and attacks."

After the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters, among whom were many active-duty and retired military service members, the report notes:

In response to these developments, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III pledged to intensify the DoD's effort to combat extremism in the military, remarking, "It concerns me to think that anyone wearing the uniform of a soldier, or a sailor, an airman, Marine, or Guardian or Coast Guardsman would espouse these [extremist] sorts of beliefs, let alone act on them. But they do. Some of them still do." Secretary Austin also signed a memo directing commanding officers and supervisors to conduct a one-day "stand-down" to discuss extremism in the ranks with their personnel. In addition, the DoD launched an investigation in January 2021 to determine the extent to which the department and military have implemented policies and procedures that prohibit advocacy and participation related to white supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang activity by active-duty personnel.

Republicans in Congress and conservative commentators have criticized the initiative, saying that those who support conservative politics will be swept up in the campaign.

The conservative movement, however, has tied itself to these extremist views.

The Washington Post analysis says:

Right-wing extremism began gathering fresh momentum after the election of Barack Obama, the nation's first Black president, according to an April 2009 Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment. "Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda," the assessment said.

After Obama took office, it was none other than Trump who became the most prominent face of the "birther" movement, falsely alleging that Obama was not a natural-born American citizen. Embracing the debunked conspiracy theory did not disqualify Trump from seeking and eventually obtaining the Republican presidential nomination.

After taking office, Trump regularly used his platform to play to right-wing extremists, bashing migrants, demonizing Muslims, blaming Asians for the novel coronavirus, and embracing antisemitism.

These actions generated little criticism from his fellow Republicans.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, ignoring law enforcement warnings about the threat from extremist right-wing conspiracy theories, Trump praised QAnon conspiracy theorists.

As he debated Biden in September 2020, Trump told the white supremacist militia group Proud Boys to "stand by."

That same month, Biden was asked whether he condemned aggressive tactics by members of the antifa movement.

"Yes I do — violence no matter who it is," Biden replied.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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