[OPINION] Law and order president? The chaos and violence Trump wants you to be fearful and hateful of is happening now under his watch

President Donald J. Trump participates at a roundtable on donating plasma Thursday, July 30, 2020, at the American Red Cross-National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

DOOMSDAY in America is what President Donald Trump has been scaring people about in his campaign. He warns that if his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden,  wins in November, then people will not be safe with all the chaos, violence, and killing happening in the country. He claims only he can fix this and bring law and order back in America.

No self-respecting and thinking Republican, Democrat, or Independent will choose to be blind to the truth because the fact is: all that he is warning voters about is already happening under his watch, in Trump’s America.

Trump purposely fans the flame of hate, mistrust, and division in America. He emboldens racists, white supremacists and right-wing extremists. This is his own doing. His words, actions and policies have been inciting the chaos, violence and carnage we are now experiencing.

Falling behind in the polls because of his failed leadership, especially in handling the coronavirus pandemic, he uses the tactic that got him elected in 2016: stoking racial and cultural divide. He is desperate to be re-elected to buy time and escape all the lawsuits waiting to be filed against him for all the crimes and transgressions he has committed against the Constitution and the American people.

The violence, looting, and destruction we now see are perpetrated NOT by the peaceful Black Lives Matter Movement protesters rallying against racism and racial injustice in America, but by opportunists, anarchists, right-wing extremists and white supremacists, some of them coming from other states and cities. This is tactically done so Trump can blame protesters and the Democrats, and cast himself as the “savior” and the “hero” for the crises he and his administration have created.

Trump has been using people as pawns and props for his fabricated narrative to appeal to his base and to convince those who are still undecided to vote for him, using lies, fear-mongering and doomsday scenarios.

The violence and crimes happening in America are not mainly perpetrated by peaceful protesters, Black Lives Matter activists, Antifa, immigrants and Democrats as alleged by Trump — the so-called “bad guys” in his playbook that he loves to blame and demonize.
Here is the truth about the issue from Anti-Defamation League (ADL). ADL is a leading anti-hate organization that was founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, and its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

The facts from the ADL’s annual Murder and Extremism report that Trump does not really want you to know:

“Of the 42 extremist-related murders in the U.S. last year, 38 were committed by individuals subscribing to various far-right ideologies, including white supremacy.
ADL ranked 2019 as the sixth-deadliest year on record for extremist-related violence since 1970.

A total of 17 separate incidents were counted last year. The deadliest, by far, was the August white supremacist shooting spree at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which left 22 people dead and at least 24 more wounded. Including the El Paso attack, white supremacists were behind 81 percent of the domestic extremist-related murders in 2019.

Right-wing extremists were responsible for 90 percent of such murders in 2019 and for 330 deaths over the course of the last decade, accounting for 76 percent of all domestic extremist-related murders in that time.

“Over the last decade, right-wing extremists have been responsible for more than 75 percent of extremist-related murders in this country,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “This should no longer come as a shock to anyone. Lawmakers, law enforcement and the public need to recognize the grave and dangerous threat posed by violent white supremacy. We cannot begin to defeat this deadly form of hatred if we fail to even recognize it.”

The past five years (2015-2019) include four of the deadliest years on record for extremist murders. Last year, the number of extremist-related fatalities in the U.S. declined slightly from the previous year, dropping from 53 fatalities in 2018 to 43 in 2019. But last year’s total was still higher than 2017, when 41 deaths were recorded.

For the eighth year in a row, firearms were the weapon of choice for domestic extremists.

Guns were involved in 86 percent of last year’s fatalities. In the past 10 years, 315 of the 435 people (72 percent) killed in the U.S. by extremists were shot to death. The increase in extremist-related shooting sprees in recent years is of particular concern.

These are the people Trump referred to as “very fine people” after one woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed by a white supremacist while she protested at a rally of alt-right groups, who were defending the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

These “very fine people” in Trump’s playbook were neo-Nazis who staged a torchlight parade, unabashedly chanting anti-Semitic slogans, and roughed up students locked in arms around a statue of Thomas Jefferson. When the violence escalated and became fatal, Trump immediately blamed the “alt-left,” the Antifa, and defended the neo-Nazis.

In May of this year, Black American George Floyd was arrested and killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes as he was handcuffed and faced down pleading for his life, saying “I can’t breathe.”

In the wake of this brutal murder, Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement protesters rallied in Minneapolis (and in other parts of the country and the world) to fight against racial injustice. Chaos, looting and violence perpetrated by anarchists, opportunists followed. Trump and his administration were quick to blame antifa without bases in fact.

Antifa is not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader. It is a decentralized network of activists who don’t coordinate. Antifa is a monicker for these people whose common goal is opposing anything that they think is racist or fascist.
“Experts who have studied antifa say there is no evidence that the fringe, amorphous group is driving nationwide protests, and Trump hasn’t cited anything specific as he accused them of doing so,” the Washington Post reported.

But according to the Post, even as the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful in recent days, Trump and Barr have made a concerted effort to implicate antifa involvement in them.

The Trump administration’s own intelligence reports reveal that “most of the violence appears to have been driven by opportunists.” A separate DHS document dated June 17 stated, “anarchist and anti-government extremists pose the most significant threat of targeted low-level, protest-related assaults against law enforcement.” The document did not mention antifa by name and the document’s definition of “anarchist extremist”

appears to exclude the group, the Post further reported. Did Trump tell you about this?
The president also did not differentiate the Black Lives Matter (BLM)’s peaceful protesters from anarchists who infiltrated the rallies, and did not acknowledge what BLM was fighting against — racial injustice and police brutality. Trump’s malicious attempt to tie antifa with peaceful protesters is an assault to people’s constitutional right of peaceful assembly to a voice out their legitimate grievance in a democracy.

So who is behind this misinformation about antifa? Twitter has shut down multiple accounts that it says were operated by a white supremacist group posing as liberal groups encouraging violence. “This account violated our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. We took action after the account sent a Tweet inciting violence and broke the Twitter Rules” the company said, as reported by CBS News.

Twitter said the white supremacist group Identity Evropa used one fake account, @Antifa_US, with the intent to call for violence in majority white suburbs, maliciously using the name of the Black Lives Matter movement. Did Trump tell you about this?
Yet despite all of this, Trump even wanted to declare antifa as a domestic terrorist group.

Have you ever heard the president denounce white supremacists, right extremists and vigilantes subscribing to far-right ideologies for the violence and deaths they have perpetrated despite all the facts? Did he ever call for the right extremists, and white supremacists to be declared as “domestic terrorists?” No. He even defends them.

And what about the supposed peaceful protests against the white police officer who shot an unarmed black man seven times at the back, witnessed by his kids in the car in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 23?

The New York Post reported that of the 175 arrested during protests, a total of 105 were not from the city. They came from 44 different cities, including 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen accused of shooting dead two men and seriously injuring a third with an assault rifle.

The teenage shooter, along with his mother, had also allegedly crossed state lines and was arrested in his home in Illinois. What were they doing in Kenosha, Wisconsin armed with military-style weapons? The report said police seized more than 20 firearms during the protests, leading to numerous charges for carrying concealed weapons. And did you see the video of the police ignoring this teen as he walked around with his weapon amid the chaos?

And what did Trump do? He defended the teen, who we now know is a Trump supporter. He attended a Trump rally in Iowa, seating in the front row. This kid is not old enough to vote, smoke nor drink but was already in possession of an assault weapon that has killed innocent people.

When Trump was asked if he would condemn “the actions of vigilantes like the teen Kyle Rittenhouse,” he ignored the question and claimed Rittenhouse “probably would’ve been killed” if he had acted differently, BuzzFeed reported.

Rittenhouse idolized the police and posted pictures of him on social media posing with guns, in support of “Blue Lives Matter.” How ironic that he chose to turn an otherwise peaceful protest to tragedy with his knee-jerk vigilante approach to discord.

The president refused to condemn the actions of vigilantes like Rittenhouse even after denouncing the shooting of a right-wing demonstrator in a pro-Trump rally in Portland on Monday, August 31.

This prompted Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to challenge Trump in a statement: “The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same.”

Throughout the Republican National Convention, Trump has been branding and selling himself to be the president who will bring back law and order in the United States. He failed to do it as president now, why should we believe he can solve this crisis when re-elected?

Trump accused the Democrats of spreading hate, when in fact, his rhetoric of hate, prejudice and divisiveness against people of color, immigrants, Muslims and his political opponents is the one that has led to the surge of hate crimes in the United States.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler nailed it when he said:

“It’s you who have created the hate and the division. It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it’s you who claimed that White supremacists are good people.”

“Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country.”

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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