Rantt Rundown: America Has A Neo-Nazi Problem
Day 459 of the Trump presidency
Let’s talk about what happened this weekend. After holding a Neo-Nazi rally in Newnan, Georgia, white supremacists burned swastikas in the night.
This came after militarized police arrested some anti-Nazi protestors who were wearing masks, invoking a law that was put in place to be enforced against…wait for it…the Ku Klux Klan.
Luckily, this was just a one-off, and it doesn’t typically happen in Americ….can’t finish that sentence. This isn’t just a one-off. America has a neo-Nazi problem and a president who refuses to acknowledge it.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is tracking more than 900 hate groups in the U.S. As of last year, the number of total hate groups was up by 17% since 2014. In their recent study, it was up even more. The Washington Post reported in February of this year:
The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 954 groups as hate groups, which it defines as “an organization that — based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities — has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” That number was up from 917 in 2016 and 892 in 2015, according to a study the center released Wednesday.
This is arguably correlated with the rise of Donald Trump, particularly anti-Muslim hate groups. (Note that the surge begins around the time Trump was running for president.)
To further bolster this point, the FBI and DHS reportedly prepared a report dated May 10, 2017, called “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence.” Notably, the report asserted that:
White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement.”
On June 23, 2017, the Trump administration cut funding ($400,000) from the “Countering Violent Extremism” program which backed an anti-white supremacist organization founded by former neo-Nazis.
And then, of course, came President Trump’s infamous “very fine people on both sides” moment after a radical white supremacist terrorist killed anti-Nazi protestor, Heather Heyer.
Now, we have 29-year-old Travis Reinking, who killed four people (Taurean C. Sanderlin, Joe R. Perez, Akilah Dasilva, and Deebony Groves) this weekend at a Tennessee Waffle House with an AR-15. James Shaw Jr. heroically tackled him to the ground while he was reloading and threw the weapon over the Waffle House bar, causing Reinking to flee. Reinking was arrested today.
What we know about Reinking so far is that after an incident in 2017 where he tried to enter a restricted area of the White House, his guns were confiscated and returned to his father…who gave the weapons back to him. Reinking told officers that he was a “sovereign citizen,” a far-right anti-government group. The SPLC notes the movement’s connection to white supremacist ideology.
Presidents are supposed to lead us through dark times, but Donald Trump not only refuses to acknowledge that the hate brewing in America is a problem, he stirs the pot.
For a president who obsessively called on Barack Obama to explicitly say “radical Islamic terrorism,” he sure has a hard time saying “radical white supremacist terrorism” while it’s happening on American soil.
In other news, Mississippi and Alabama closed their government offices today for…Confederate Memorial Day.
The U.S. softened its position on sanctions against Russian metals giant United Co. Rusal, sparking a record plunge in aluminum prices.
For the first time, the U.S. Treasury discussed a path for lifting the sanctions on Rusal, saying it would provide relief if Oleg Deripaska relinquished control. It also extended the deadline for companies to wind down dealings with the Russian aluminum producer by almost five months.
Rusal petitioned to be removed from the sanctions list and Treasury granted the extension while it considers the appeal, according to a statement from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
- Bloomberg obtained flight records that contradicted Trump’s denials of staying in Moscow during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant:
President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations.
Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest.
Now, flight records obtained by Bloomberg provide fresh details. Combined with existing accounts and Trump’s own social-media posts, they capture two days that, nearly five years later, loom large in the controversy engulfing the White House and at the heart of the Comey memos, which the Justice Department turned over last week to Congress.
- Greg Sargent of The Washington Post reported:
Around the country, Republicans embroiled in tough primaries are increasingly emulating President Trump — by echoing his xenophobia, his veiled racist appeals, his attacks on the news media, and even occasionally his calls for imprisoning his political opponents.
- After the funeral of First Lady Barbara Bush, President George H.W. Bush is in intensive care.
- NBC News reported that President Trump’s new national security adviser John Bolton presided over an anti-Muslim think tank.
- CIA Director, and Secretary of State nominee, Mike Pompeo was voted through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.