Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News to continue the Trump administration’s targeting of the far-left anti-fascist group Antifa, making the false claim that the group’s name stands for “anti-First Amendment.”
Donald Trump has frequently criticized the group, which protests against fascism and frequently appears to counter white supremacist groups. The group’s name is an abbreviation of “anti-fascism” and dates back to its origins in Europe as a counter to rising neo-Nazi movements in England and Germany. But as The Daily Beast noted, the top Trump adviser claimed in an appearance on Monday that it’s really a shortened version of “anti-First Amendment.”
As the report noted, Conway’s statement appeared to echo a tweet on Saturday from Fox News contributor and former NRA-TV personality Dan Bongino, who wrote the following.
“Everywhere the group ANTIFA (Anti-First Amendment) goes, violence and chaos follows.”
Donald Trump has written on Twitter on a number of occasions that he is considering declaring Antifa to be a terrorist organization. The latest threat came this weekend after Antifa and the far-right group Proud Boys clashed during rallies in Portland, Oregon.
Leaders of the Proud Boys, a group that has been involved in a number of violent clashes with counter-protesters and had a number of members arrested on felony assault charges, said that Trump’s attention on Antifa meant their actions in Portland were a success.
“Go look at President Trump’s Twitter,” Proud Boys protest organizer Joe Biggs told The Oregonian when asked what message the group wanted to convey. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”
Trump’s target of Antifa has led many others in the conservative media to echo his claims and encourage Trump to go through with his plans to declare it a domestic terrorist organization.
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) August 17, 2019
Donald Trump has earned criticism for his focus on Antifa but his silence on far-right and white supremacist groups that have caused violence in other instances. Many critics have said that Trump’s divisive racial rhetoric is a contributing factor to a rise in white supremacist violence, and that his administration is purposely downplaying and ignoring the threat of white supremacist extremist groups.
The administration was previously accused of burying a Department of Justice report that found white supremacists were responsible for all race-based instances of domestic terrorism in the last year, refusing to hand over a study on the extremist violence to the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee.