Democratic congressman Ted Lieu of California dropped a fact check on Donald Trump on Saturday, reminding him that white supremacy is a growing threat, despite the president’s false assertion that it’s no big deal.
“In the last three years of Barack Obama’s presidency, hate groups declined,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “Now we have a 30 percent increase in hate groups and white supremacy groups that correspond with Donald Trump’s presidency.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 16, 2019
It is disappointing that Donald Trump once again is trying to downplay the threat of white nationalism and white supremacy. We saw this happen during Charlottesville when he said there were fine people on both sides of the white supremacy march. We also know it’s factually incorrect. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the last three years of Barack Obama’s presidency, hate groups declined. Now we have a 30 percent increase in hate groups and white supremacy groups that correspond with Donald Trump’s presidency. It’s unfortunate he’s refusing to acknowledge the reality.
The president’s rhetoric matters
It should be no surprise that hate groups and white supremacy organizations are on the rise again with Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
After all, Trump’s entire political brand has been built on white anger and minority resentment. It fueled his candidacy and continues to motivate his supporters. As Malcolm Nance said on Saturday, Trump has become a champion of these groups.
Under Barack Obama, the opposite was true. The 44th president spoke out loudly and unequivocally against this type of hatred and said it has no place in the United States of America. He urged the country to embraces its diversity.
It is no surprise then that, as Ted Lieu pointed out, hate groups were on the decline as Obama was leaving office, and they are on the rise again under Trump. Rhetoric matters.
Not only is Donald Trump wrong that white supremacy isn’t a growing threat in the United States and around the world, but he is a large reason why.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.