President Donald Trump on Sunday said the federal government will declare Antifa, a far-left group that is closely tied to communist and quasi-Marxist movements, as a terrorist organization as violent protests continue to grip cities across the United States in the wake of a black man’s death in Minneapolis.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump wrote in a series of messages on Twitter blaming rioting during police brutality protests on Antifa and other “radical left” elements.
On top of that, legacy news outlets are “doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy” across the United States, he added.
“As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!” the president wrote.
According to a tally from The Associated Press, more than 1,400 people have been arrested across the country since May 28 amid protests over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He died May 25 after officer Derrick Chauvin placed his knee on his neck, although an autopsy showed Floyd didn’t die of strangulation or traumatic oxygen deprivation.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder, but it did little to quell the violence.
At least 1,383 people have been arrested since last week. The actual number is likely higher as protests continue Saturday night. More than a third of the arrests, 533, came from Los Angeles alone on May 29. The mayor of the nation’s second-largest city has imposed a citywide curfew until 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
Trump on Sunday, meanwhile, praised the use of the National Guard to stop the unrest.
“Other Democrat run Cities and States should look at the total shutdown of Radical Left Anarchists in Minneapolis last night. The National Guard did a great job, and should be used in other States before it is too late!” he wrote, adding that the National Guard arrived in Minneapolis and “shut down” Antifa and others.
“Should have been done by Mayor on first night and there would have been no trouble!” he said.
Trump provided no other details about declaring Antifa a terrorist organization, but it marks a significant step in limiting the actions and movement of the far-left group.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.