Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), during a hearing Wednesday suggested President Trump was partly to blame for the rise of white nationalism, due to his talking about migrant caravan “invasions” at the United States’ southern border and for commenting that Baltimore was “rodent infested.”
The Democrat-led House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism and the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism held a hearing to discuss the threat white nationalism posed to the country.
Democrats and witnesses argued it is a greater threat than Islamist extremism, and that the U.S. government should put more resources towards fighting the problem versus fighting Islamist extremism.
Sharon Nazarian, Ph.D., senior vice president for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, testified that in over eight years, there have been 175 deaths internationally, or an average of 21 a year, attributed to white nationalism.
However, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) noted that 84,000 deaths internationally were attributed to Islamist extremism last year alone.
Cicilline said white extremism was now the most lethal form of extremism in the United States, and that last year’s 50 deaths marked the fourth deadliest year since 1970. “Hate groups are on a record high, white nationalist groups increasing by 50 percent” in 2018.
He then attributed its rise partly to Trump. He began:
I guess the first question I have is, are there, is there research that shows what is causing this? This is a significant increase and it seems to me understanding what are some of the causes of this that we might prevent is a very efficient way to start responding to this challenge.
And I also think it’s obviously not helpful when we have political or civic leaders in the country that are using language that dehumanizes refugees or immigrants and speak about invasions and infestations and all of that kind of stuff.
Trump last year first began using the word “invasion” to describe the caravans of Central American migrants overrunning the border into Mexico on the way to the U.S.
He said during one press conference:
At this very moment, large, well-organized caravans of migrants are marching towards our southern border. Some people call it an ‘invasion.’ It’s like an invasion. They have violently overrun the Mexican border. You saw that two days ago. These are tough people, in many cases. A lot of young men, strong men. And a lot of men that maybe we don’t want in our country. But again, we’ll find that out through the legal process.
But they’ve overrun the Mexican police, and they’ve overrun and hurt badly Mexican soldiers. So this isn’t an innocent group of people. It’s a large number of people that are tough. They’ve injured, they’ve attacked, and the Mexican police and military has actually suffered. And I appreciate what Mexico is trying to do.
Earlier this year, he referred to Baltimore as “rodent infested,” although his critics have accused him of using it in reference to people.
….As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
According to a review of his tweets and speeches, he has never used the word in reference to people other than MS-13 criminals.
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