One of the biggest problems facing sane Americans living through the Trump disaster is that the President’s bizarre behaviors continue to suck all the oxygen out of the room–the one thing he is demonstrably good at is grabbing media attention. As a result, we can easily miss the day-to-day mayhem being wreaked on the federal government, and the persistent undermining of that government’s capacity to discharge its responsibilities.
It’s like a roof leak that goes undiscovered until the damage causes your ceiling to collapse.
With the frequency of domestic terrorism rising, Trump has apparently decided that the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t need its primary intelligence unit that investigates and analyzes that problem and has disbanded it. Virtually all domestic terrorism in recent years has been committed by right-wing extremists.
The Department of Homeland Security has disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who focused on domestic terrorism, The Daily Beast has learned. Numerous current and former DHS officials say they find the development concerning, as the threat of homegrown terrorism—including white supremacist terrorism—is growing.
There have been a growing number of articles focused upon the growing threat posed by white nationalists, and reports have documented that rightwing extremists have been responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Right-wing extremist violence is a major domestic threat. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s database, it has accounted for about 73 percent of terrorist-related murders in the U.S. in the last 10 years.
An article in the New York Times in the wake of the New Zealand mosque attack traced the connections between white supremacists around the globe, and the growth of their movement.
Given the reality of the threat, and the obvious need to confront it, why would the Trump administration disband the effort to understand and contain these dangerous radicals? Why is Trump so unwilling to call them out, even in the wake of horrific attacks? Why does he encourage them by minimizing the harm done by white supremacists and focusing instead on Muslims?
I think we all know–or can guess– the answers to those questions.
Let’s face it; these particular terrorists are a significant–and clearly welcome– part of Trump’s base. They are also increasingly open about the connection: Recently, a couple sporting both swastikas and a MAGA hat were spotted taking photos in front of a Holocaust Memorial in Rhode Island.
Even more troubling, large numbers of neo-Nazis and other White Supremacists–who already have several apologists among the Republican members of Congress–are running for office.
In 2018, an astonishing number of self-described white nationalists (including a former president of the American Nazi Party) ran for local, state, and national office in states from California to North Carolina — with the vast majority running as Republicans.
Most who candidly described themselves as Nazis or neo-Nazis lost–but several candidates with ties to white nationalists, including but not limited to Steve King (R-IA) and Matt Gaetz, won their races. A number of avowed white supremacists have declared their intent to take over the GOP, and even a superficial review of Republican officeholders makes it clear that they have already made significant inroads.
No wonder Trump disbanded the DHS unit.