Donald Trump, Kayleigh McEnany, Defend White Supremacists; Place Blame On Antifa For Riots, Destruction
Across the nation, protests have been held to call for justice after the death of George Floyd, who died while a police officer held a knee on his neck. Along with protests, riots have broken out, and looting has taken place in some cities. What often remains fuzzy in the wake of these events is who exactly is responsible for them. While it’s easy to associate the protests and riots, the reality isn’t always that simple. In the current series of events, Minnesota officials are finding that some of those they’ve arrested are linked to white supremacist groups. White nationalist and neo-nazi groups are reportedly recruiting online, hoping to seed chaos and discredit the protests. However, Trump and his representatives continue to deny that white supremacy is playing a role, instead insisting that antifa is at fault.
According to Courthouse News, Minneapolis officials said Saturday that many people they’d arrested overnight were outside agitators, not genuine protestors. Specifically, they found links between some arrestees and white supremacist groups. Further, they said that they had investigations underway into online recruitment of white nationalists to disrupt protests and incite violence. BET also collected a series of videos of destruction that they say were carried out by white extremist infiltrators.
However, the president made efforts Monday to exonerate and defend white supremacists, quoting a Fox News host’s denial that racists were the root of the problem, and following it with his own vehement affirmation.
“I don’t see any indication that there were any white supremest groups mixing in. This is an ANTIFA Organization. It seems that the first time we saw it in a major way was Occupy Wall Street. It’s the same mindset.” @kilmeade @foxandfriends TRUE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
He also blamed antifa Saturday, assuring reporters that those who had to be contained were “radical left.” He tweeted to reinforce the same sentiment, pushing blame away from right-wing and racist groups.
It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
Kayleigh McEnany also suggested on Monday that antifa — which she called an “organized group” — was behind “the heinous acts that we’ve seen.”
Trump has previously been criticized for defending white supremacists, such as when a ‘Unite the Right’ left one counter-protestor dead. Though the Washington Post notes that Trump tried to change the story afterwards, to suggest he didn’t mean neo-Nazis and white nationalists (despite speaking of attendees at an event partially organized by Richard Spencer and including David Duke as a featured speaker), he declared at the time that the group included “some very fine people.”