President Donald Trump frequently shrugs off or denies that his words have inspired hatred in others to the point where they have been inspired to lash out in violent ways. Yet a new analysis seems to have found many instances where that is the case.
ABC News conducted a nationwide review of criminal court cases and found at least 36 criminal cases where Trump’s name was invoked by those who engaged in violent acts, alleged assaults, or threats of attacks toward others.
Most of the individuals who were the assailants or alleged attackers were white men, the report concluded, while on the other side, most of the victims were minorities, such as African Americans, Latinxs, or members of the LGBTQ community.
The same analysis by ABC News found zero instances of current criminal cases involving former Presidents Barack Obama’s or George W. Bush’s names being invoked to justify violent actions.
It's the daily rhetoric on immigration that's reshaping politics more than the extremes.
— Philip Bump (@pbump) August 14, 2019
The research was not definitive, as there are some limitations to the method of finding some cases — in other words, the 36 instances found is the minimum number, and there could be more out there.
For example, ABC News’s reporting didn’t include a recent incident involving Curt Brockway, an Army veteran who recently knocked a child to the ground for wearing a hat during the playing of the national anthem. That child suffered severe head injuries as a result of Brockway’s actions.
Brockway’s lawyer later justified his client’s actions by stating he thought he was following presidential directives, the Idaho State Journal reported.
“His commander-in-chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished,” the lawyer said, adding that Brockway “didn’t understand it was a crime” to act the way he did.
Trump has pushed aside blame directed toward him, arguing that he doesn’t carry even a sliver of responsibility when it comes to the violent actions of individuals with far-right viewpoints.
In remarks he made at the White House earlier this month, Trump blamed video games and mental health for why two mass shooters killed more than 30 individuals in two separate shootings. He has also blamed the media for stoking violent actions of other individuals.
“Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years,” the president wrote in a tweet on August 5. “News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems [referring to mass shootings] will only get worse!”