White nationalists with guns….
August 5, 2019
As everyone knows by now, on Saturday, a young man entered a Walmart near El Paso and shot dozens of people, killing at least 20 of them. Under questioning, he told police he wanted “to shoot as many Mexicans as possible.” This statement, and a “manifesto” that police believe he also wrote, may lead to a Federal hate crimes prosecution in addition to charges he will face in Texas.
These developments have led many to further denounce Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants, which seems to be fueling a rise in white nationalist hate groups around the country. To be sure, such groups increase in number and then fall off in a cyclic nature, often inversely correlated with economic growth and retraction. But Trump’s campaign and presidency have corresponded to a rapid increase in hate groups and white supremacist violence.
From the Southern Poverty Law Center’s most recent annual report on hate groups released in February this year,
The mainstreaming of harmful and poisonous ideas has spread to Trump’s allies, particularly those at Fox News. Tucker Carlson was the source of Trump’s South African tweet. He gave wildly incorrect information on the issue on his show the night before the president’s tweet, and he also hosted an apartheid apologist on his nightly program in May to discuss the so-called war on white farmers in that country. Carlson has used his program to engage in tirades against diversity, transgender people and, especially, immigrants.
Like white supremacists, Carlson has tied these bogeymen directly to demographic change. In July, Carlson said, “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country.” Then in November, he said, “It is never true that diversity is your strength.” In another broadcast, he told his viewers, “this is more change than human beings are designed to digest.”
Carlson’s Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham echoed this theme. In August, she said, “The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. … Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.” No wonder Carlson is beloved by white supremacists such as Spencer as well as Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. In May, Anglin called Carlson’s show “Tucker Carlson AKA Daily Stormer TV,” and wrote, “wow, someone important is reading my articles.”
Fox News is Trump’s megaphone as well as the source of many of his ideas. And his on-air allies Carlson and Ingraham, whom Trump watches religiously, have audiences between 2.5 million and 3 million viewers.
Most Americans are now fully aware that Trump is emboldening white supremacists and helping to grow their ranks. An October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute shows a majority believe Trump has “encouraged white supremacist groups.”
But he’s done more than that. He has installed people with extremist views into his administration, and their views are affecting policy.
Trump’s administration has, and continues to include, people with strong ties to anti-immigration groups and far-right nationalist organizations. While some of the most well known bigots, like Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions are now gone, many lower level staffers with connections to anti-immigrant groups, and, importantly, advisor Stephen Miller, remain.
Reports - as far as I know not independently confirmed, but telling - emerged on Saturday evening of concern that some people were not seeking medical treatment out of fear related to their immigrant status following the shooting. From Slate:
People who need help after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, may not seek it out because of their immigration status, authorities fear. “This is a concern,” Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of the Homeland Security Department, told CNN. “It’s clear that there’s people that are not unifying with their family and that there are people they’re worried are injured that did not go to hospitals likely because of their immigration status.”
Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard denounced the shooting as “an act of barbarism,” and said,
“The president has instructed me to ensure that Mexico’s indignation translates into ... efficient, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico to take a role and demand that conditions are established that protect ... Mexicans in the United States,” Ebrard said in a video posted on Twitter.
Ebrard later announced that he would be in El Paso to meet with the victims and offer support from the Mexican government.
Of the 20 people killed, 6 were Mexican nationals; of the 26 injured, 9 were.