Democrat Rep. Debra Haaland (N.M.), in an interview with CNN Sunday, insisted that far-left extremist group Antifa consists of peaceful protesters who are standing up against domestic terrorists and that it is President Trump who supports violent white supremacist groups.
“It’s not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism,” she said.
Haaland gave her comment when asked about President Trump’s tweet where he said that his administration is monitoring Antifa’s actions closely for further acts of violence and is considering designating it a domestic terrorist group.
President Trump’s tweet came in anticipation of another Antifa clash, this time with right-wing groups including the “Proud Boys,” and law enforcement over the weekend in Portland, Oregon. The organizers of the right-wing groups said they wanted to draw attention to Antifa and they felt they were successful in doing that.
President Trump took notice of the Portland protest and said on July 27, “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others). Would make it easier for police to do their job!”
“This is on par with what the president does,” Haaland said. “He sides with the white supremacists, he sides with the white nationalists, with the domestic terrorists in our country.”
Haaland seemed unaware of the fact that the man who carried out the mass shooting in Dayton, appeared to be a supporter of Antifa or of the reality that a self-proclaimed member of Antifa carried out an attack against an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington on July 2019, or of the fact that the Seattle-based Antifa group called him a martyr and said he gave his life in the fight against fascism.
According to AP news, 13 people were arrested in Portland over the weekend. Some weapons were confiscated and 6 people who sustained minor injuries. But due to police preparedness and a large portion of the right-wing groups leaving when they were requested to do so, the clashes between the two sides were mostly avoided.
“I’m grateful this was largely a peaceful event,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “We were preparing for and planning for a worst-case scenario.”
After the main protest ended and most of the right-wing groups had left the area, there were some tense clashes, mostly with Antifa protesters who were looking to attack right-wing ralliers.
Trump’s announcement about Antifa comes after Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed a resolution in the Senate to condemn the acts of violence carried out by members of Antifa and to label the group as a domestic terrorist organization.
Antifa’s origins can be traced back to the “anti-fascist” movement in Germany, which was part of the Soviet Union’s front operations to incite a communist revolution in the European country. In the United States, the group claims that its members are fighting fascism, but rarely do they confront actual fascists. Instead, their members, who are made up of communists, socialists, and other hard-left radicals, label parties and individuals who don’t align with their ideology as “fascists” to justify their use of violence against them.
The group has frequently made headlines for its violent attacks on opposing groups, particularly Trump supporters, whom they have branded as “fascists.”