In 2017, Trump Shuttered Agency Dedicated To Fighting Domestic Terrorism
The Atlantic reported in 2018 that one of President Donald Trump’s first moves after taking office was to essentially disband the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Community Partnerships, which “works intimately with local governments and community organizations to prevent jihadist and white-nationalist radicalization.”
- Under President Barack Obama, the office was fully staffed with “16 full-time employees, roughly 25 contractors, and a budget of more than $21 million.” But Trump cut the office’s budget to less than $3 million and its staff to just eight full-time employees. He also renamed it to the Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships.
- Two grants handed out by the office under Obama — one to Life After Hate, which The Hill called “one of the only programs in the U.S. devoted to helping people leave neo-Nazi and other white supremacy groups,” and the other to researchers at the University of North Carolina — were canceled by the Trump administration.
- Former director of the Office of Community Partnerships, George Selim, said “there’s been a precipitous decline in the dedicated staff and program funding devoted to combating ideologically motivated violence” under Trump.
- But it isn’t just about budget cuts in general, The Atlantic noted. After all, Trump “increased Department of Homeland Security spending by more than 7 percent in his first budget and another 4 percent in his second.”
- Rather, Trump would prefer to boost the ability of law enforcement to arrest suspected terrorists than pay for work that would help prevent them in the first place. Also, the Trump administration has made clear that it believes jihadism — not white nationalist extremism — is the greater threat to America, despite evidence to the contrary.
- The FBI concluded in 2017 that white supremacists were responsible for more Americans’ deaths from 2000 to 2016 than “any other domestic extremist movement.”
- At the time, then-White House Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka said there “has never been a serious attack or a serious plot [in the United States] that was unconnected from isis or al-Qaeda.”