In the wake of the deadly El Paso shooting on Saturday, a longtime FBI official is accusing President Donald Trump’s administration of “facilitating and enabling” domestic terrorists by failing to condemn acts of violence from the far right.
The shooting outside a Walmart left 20 people dead and at least 26 more injured. The shooting suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, a Dallas man who reportedly praised Donald Trump on Twitter and allegedly wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto that was posted shortly before the attack.
In an MSNBC appearance in the hours after the shooting, former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi said that the Trump administration needs to “come out and intervene” in the rise of what he called a “hate-filled movement” in the United States.
“He’s the father figure, he’s giving the license, he’s facilitating and enabling,” he said, via Newsweek. “What we need is the similar figure — the President — to come out immediately, once this is confirmed, and say, ‘I stand for something other than hate, I rebuke all the hatred going on here.’ Until we see the figure do that, that’s giving the license, we’ll continue to have this hate problem.”
Figliuzzi added that close to half of the terrorism cases being handled by the FBI are domestic terrorism.
Donald Trump has long come under fire for his reluctance to condemn attacks from the far-right, the most famous incident being after the deadly violence in Charlottesville where he said that there were “very fine people” on both sides, which would have included the white supremacist and Neo-Nazi demonstrators, including one who drove a car through a crowd of counter protesters in an attack that left one dead.
Trump has been accused of spreading racial animosity himself. He was widely condemned at the launch of his 2016 presidential campaign for painting Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, and more recently came under fire for an attack against four Democratic congresswomen of color, telling them to go back to their “original” countries. Three of the four were born in the United States, while a fourth, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, is a naturalized citizen who emigrated from Somalia.
Trump refused to take back the statement even as members of his own party called on him to delete the tweet. Days later, Trump laid into Omar at a campaign rally, prompting the crowd to chant, “Send her back! Send her back!”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2019
Police in El Paso have not released any information about a potential motive for Saturday’s attack.