Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, there has been an ongoing nationwide conversation on the rise and the potential threat of White nationalism.
Last Friday (March 8), during a White House press conference, a reporter asked Trump whether or not he believes the rise in White nationalism is a threat around the world. The question comes shortly after the massacre of 50 Muslim worshipers at two mosques in New Zealand.
Trump responded: “I don’t really; 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 a case I don’t know enough about it yet. They’re just learning about it and the people involved but it is certainly a terrible thing.
After making this statement, Trump began to receive major pushback from the Democratic Party, religious leaders, minority leaders and activists. One, in particular, was Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017. What the President is saying here: ‘if you engage in violent acts of white supremacy, I will look the other way,’” wrote Ocasio-Cortez in a Twitter post.
Although Trump does not see an increase in White nationalism around the world, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) statistics on hate groups proves otherwise.
In the Spring 2019 issue of SPLC’s Intelligence Report, the center noted that “Trump has opened the White House doors to extremism, not only consulting with hate groups on policies that erode our country’s civil rights protections, but also enabling the infiltration of extremist ideas into the administration’s rhetoric and agenda.”
Two of the policies SPLC are referring to is the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies.
This information was released after SPLC conducted an investigation on hate crimes across the U.S. where they found a “50 percent increase in White nationalist hate groups between 2017 and 2018.”
During 2018, SPLC tracked 1,020 hate groups across the U.S. with California among the highest with 83 hate groups, followed by Florida with 75 and Texas with 73.
The report also calls out the members of Congress who SPLC believes to be associated with White supremacists, anti-LGBT and other hate groups which are: Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Rep. Kevin Kramer of North Dakota, Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rep. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Rep. Greg Giaforte of Montana, Rep. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, and Rep. Mark Harris of North Carolina.
The full hate group map can be viewed at https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map. To view the full Spring 2019 Intelligence Report please visit www.splcenter.org.