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It is staggering to imagine how much more violence this president may motivate if he continues down this deeply disturbing path
photo above: Trump’s rhetoric is infused with notions of violence and dehumanization’. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
WN: While I do not believe anyone is pure evil, manifestations of such are arguably exponentially greatest in Trump, given his worldwide influence and power. He and his huge white Evangelical support base, have an Ultimate Reckoning to contend with…
Last year, when a rabid, anti-immigrant antisemite murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, I called it an act of domestic terrorism inspired by the ideology of Trumpism. The shooting took place during the height of the 2018 midterm campaign when Trump was inciting fear of an immigrant “caravan” from Central America. The shooter got the message. Hours before his bloody rampage, he accused a Jewish refugee support agency of bringing “invaders in that kill our people”. 1
And, when Trump suggested last month that four members of Congress of color who were born or naturalized in the United States “came from” other countries, he ratified the core concept of white supremacy that non-white people are not truly “Americans”.
The manifesto the El Paso shooter posted online reflects that he understood and endorsed the president’s political program to a T. The attack, the shooter wrote was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”. Echoing the president’s logic that cruel conditions of confinement will deter migration, the shooter opined that his use of violence would provide a needed “incentive” for Hispanics to return to their home countries. His violent actions were necessary, he wrote, to save America from destruction.
Trump has launched his 2020 re-election campaign this summer by doubling down on the theme of racial and ethnic division and anti-immigrant hysteria. And as sure as the sun rises in the east, a mere month into this racially charged atmosphere, an extremist suspect fearful of Hispanics gaining political power in Texas decided to go kill as many Hispanics as possible at an El Paso Walmart. It is Trump-inspired terrorism yet again.
The president’s defenders have taken great offense to the notion that any of his actions or rhetoric have contributed to what happened in El Paso, but this defense is deeply flawed.
These messages are not lost on people like the El Paso shooter: “Your president shares your view that immigrants and racial minorities are a scourge on America. They are not deserving of the privileges of citizenship and must be denied political power at all costs. They are animals anyway, so the use of violence is permissible.”
We remain 15 months from the 2020 election. It is staggering to imagine how much more violence this president may motivate if he continues down this deeply disturbing path.
David Schanzer is a professor at the Sanford School of Policy at Duke University and the director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security
Please click on: Trump-inspired terrorismFootnotes
- Please see also this communiqué from “Forward“.:
The shooter who killed 21 people in El Paso said that a book called “The Great Replacement” inspired him to act against a “Hispanic invasion.”
You may have already heard about this idea of “replacement.”
It’s why the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us.” It’s why the gunman who killed 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue was obsessed with the Jewish immigration-aid agency HIAS. And it’s why the New Zealand mosque shooter – whom the El Paso gunman and the Poway, California synagogue shooter cited as inspirations – claimed that immigration was leading to “white genocide.”
It’s a far-right conspiracy theory that claims Western global elites are using immigration policy to “replace” white people with racial and religious minorities. The 2011 book, by French white nationalist Renaud Camus, didn’t single out Jews as part of this evil “elite” – but anti-Semites quickly began to claim Jewish people were pulling the strings.
White supremacist websites frequently mention the alleged Jewish role in the Great Replacement. “Most people do not realize that Jews are the driving force behind mass immigration and demographic genocide,” stated the “alt-right” Wikipedia knockoff Rightpedia.
The theory has even penetrated the halls of Congress. Steve King, the Republican congressman who got kicked off his committees for asking why being a white supremacist was bad, claimed last year that Jewish financier and philanthropist George Soros was behind the Great Replacement.
President Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy” in his remarks Monday on the weekend shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. But as CJ Werleman noted in a Forward op-ed on Sunday, Trump himself has used similar language to the El Paso shooter, saying in March that undocumented border-crossers were “invaders.”
“People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” Trump said then.
Anti-Semitic incidents have dramatically increased in frequency during the Trump administration – and hate crimes against Latinos are up too. The Forward has continually monitored the threat of white nationalism and will keep doing so.
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