On Saturday, while far-right and anti-fascist groups were facing off in the city of Portland, Oregon, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to repeat a remark he had recently made, floating the idea of declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.
“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.’ Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!” the president wrote.
Trump did not suggest that far-right groups should be considered terrorist organizations, prompting some to draw comparisons to the fatal Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, after which the president stated that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the conflict.
According to Democratic Representative Deb Haaland, it is not surprising that Trump is siding with far-right groups.
Haaland discussed the president’s tweet in an interview with CNN that was broadcast on Saturday, Raw Story reports.
The Democratic lawmaker, who is one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, suggested that she is not surprised by the president’s tweet, arguing that it represents a continuation of his rhetoric and actions.
“He sides with the white supremacists, he sides the white nationalists, with the domestic terrorists in our country, just as — you know, he has incited violence against people of color,” the Democrat said.
“Portland is a progressive city,” Haaland added, arguing that Portlanders want to “keep their city moving forward,” and protect themselves from domestic terrorism.
“It’s not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism. Just not surprised at all that the president sides with the white nationalists.”
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump first suggested declaring Antifa a “terrorist organization” in late July. Given that Antifa is not an organization, however, but rather a decentralized movement, questions are being raised about how the Trump administration would go about changing its legal status.
If you’re watching the Portland rally from Twitter today, remember the context:
Its organizers, the Proud Boys, meticulously plot what weapons to bring, who and how to attack, which cops are friendly, and how to cast blame on antifa when the dust settles https://t.co/yKqJOe0zb1
— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell) August 17, 2019
The president’s suggestion was widely criticized, since statistics show that right-wing extremists are to blame for the vast majority of deaths attributable to violent extremism. For instance, between 2009 and 2018, right-wing extremists were responsible for for 73.3 percent of deaths attributable to violent extremism, and left-wing extremists were to blame for 3.2 percent.
According to the FBI, the majority of domestic terror cases are driven by white supremacy.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Anti-Defamation League, Antifa cannot be prosecuted under the Patriot Act — as some Republicans have suggested — precisely because it is not an organization with a hierarchical structure.