While Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke spent his weekend acknowledging the myriad of advantages that white privilege has afforded him over the course of his life, our Commander-in-Tweet predictably spent his doing the complete opposite.
In fact, if you let Trump tell it, white supremacy—the malevolent patriarch of the “I don’t see color” family tree—is as innocuous as rechargeable batteries and Ellen DeGeneres.
“I don’t really,” Trump responded in the Oval Office on Friday when asked if white nationalism posed a rising threat around the world, according to Time. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess. If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case.”
But what happened in New Zealand—a mass shooting at two mosques on Friday in which at least 50 people lost their lives in the coastal city of Christchurch—isn’t an isolated incident. Nor is the ever-increasing violence at the hands of white extremists—many of whom cite Trump as a catalyst for their own abhorrent behavior.
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Case in point, Brenton Tarrant—the suspect in the New Zealand shooting—praised Trump as a “symbol of white supremacy” in his 74-page manifesto despite acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s insistence that Trump “is not a white supremacist.”
ABC News uncovered 17 other violent incidents in which “Trump’s name was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.” And the perpetrators?
The perpetrators and suspects identified in the 17 cases are mostly white men, as young as teenagers and as old as 68, while the victims represent an array of minority groups — African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and gay men.
Also of note, according to a report released by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, the number of white supremacist murders in the United States more than doubled in 2017 compared to the previous year—which made 2017 the fifth deadliest year on record for extremist violence since 1970.
White supremacists have killed more people in recent years than any other type of domestic extremist (54% of all domestic extremist-related murders in the past 10 years). They are also a troubling source of domestic terror incidents (including 13 plots or attacks within the past five years)
Additionally, white supremacists and other far-right extremists were responsible for 59 percent of all extremist-related fatalities in the United States in 2017, a 39 percent jump from the previous year.
While across the pond, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2017 also saw Europe experience its highest number of right-wing attacks in Europe since 1994.
But in 2018, the seeds of hatred blossomed into unparalleled violence—as hate groups in the U.S. not only reached a 20-year high and have increased by 30% over the past four years, but every single extremist murder that occurred last year had ties to right-wing extremism.
And as staff writer Michael Harriot previous noted, these murders were “overwhelmingly linked to white Americans.”
So while it comes as no surprise that Trump doesn’t perceive his mutant power—white supremacy—as an imminent threat, I believe the incomparable Jemele Hill hit the nail on the head: