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President Trump on Sunday said Antifa, the anti-fascist group that has been involved in street protests for years and whom federal officials say is behind the violent clashes occurring in cities over the last several days, will be designated as a “terrorist organization.”
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He offered no other details.
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
The move followed several Trump administration officials asserting that ANTIFA has been behind the mayhem that has followed the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“This is being driven by Antifa,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “And they did it in Seattle. They have done it in Portland. They have done it in Berkeley. This is a destructive force of radical — I don’t even know if we want to call them leftists. Whatever they are, they’re — they’re militants who are coming in and burning our cities, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
O’Brien repeated the assertion several times, including on ABC’s “This Week.”
“It’s the violent ANTIFA radical militants that are coming out, under cover of night, traveling across state lines, using military-style tactics to burn down our cities. And they’re especially targeting the most venerable parts of our cities, George. The minority section, the African-American sections, and Hispanic areas and burning down businesses of people that are trying to get a leg up. And — and the president’s outraged by that. And we all are. And — and that has to stop.
“And we’re calling on the FBI to investigate ANTIFA and — and get to the bottom of these — these violent rioters. And I don’t want them confused with peaceful protesters that have every right to go out to the streets. That’s — that’s what makes America different from — from any other countries around the world,” he said. “I think the actual perpetrators of the violence, the ones that are on the street, that are burning down minority-owned businesses and restaurants, who have already suffered through this terrible COVID situation and — and are at risk of losing their business and now they’re seeing them burn to the ground, those are ANTIFA radical militants. And we’ve seen them before in other protests and we need to get to the bottom of it.”
After his Sunday show appearances, O’Brien told reporters: “I think the attorney general has already been in touch with (FBI) Director Wray, and I think the President wants to know what the FBI has been doing, and what their plan is going forward, and if they haven’t been doing anything about Antifa.”
Trump has also declared the group as the main culprits behind protests that have raged in dozens of cities since Floyd’s death “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!” Trump said in a tweet on Saturday.