The Inciter-In-Chief: Trump Defeat May Prompt Right-Wing Terror Attacks
Yahoo News reported in August that “the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center said he would not be surprised if right-wing domestic terrorist groups stage attacks in the United States around this November’s presidential election.”
- “Russ Travers, who was the center’s acting director when he was fired by President Trump’s hand-picked acting director of national intelligence,” said: “It certainly wouldn’t surprise me, particularly if the administration loses.”
- Travers added that “The political rhetoric is such that you could very easily see some backlash” from white supremacists and other right-wing terror groups if Trump is not victorious.
- Yahoo News noted that Trump “has repeatedly claimed that the expected widespread use of mail-in ballots during a national pandemic will lead to ‘massive fraud and abuse’ and an election result that is ‘rigged’ against him.”
- The news outlet also noted that Travers is not the only one offering such a warning, writing: “An Aug. 17 Department of Homeland Security analysis also warns of possible election-related attacks.”
“We assess ideologically-motivated violent extremists and other violent actors could quickly mobilize to threaten or engage in violence against election or campaign-related targets in response to perceived partisan and policy-based grievances,” says the document, which was obtained by Yahoo News.
- Though the document suggests that attacks are possible from across the political spectrum, the news outlet noted that “white supremacists are the only group it cites specifically.”
- The document states: “We continue to assess lone offender white supremacist extremists and other lone offender domestic terrorist actors with personalized ideologies, including those based on grievances against a target’s perceived or actual political affiliation, policies or worldview, pose the greatest threat of lethal violence.”
- Travers, whose interview with Yahoo News took place prior to the publication of the DHS report, also said that the threat from right-wing groups far outweighs potential threats from their left-wing counterparts.
“There absolutely is a left-wing effort that has conducted violent activities,” he said, citing the “small numbers” of such offenses during recent protests in Portland, Ore., “but it is not even in the same ballpark as the extreme right wing.” However, any attempt to designate either type of group would be unlikely to survive a legal challenge, he added.
- He added that the federal government likely underestimates the amount of domestic terrorism in the U.S. coming from white supremacists.
- Despite Trump’s unfounded insistence that the left-wing group antifa constitutes a significant threat to the U.S., “Travers said the difference between the small number of violent left-wing activists and the larger threat posed by right-wing groups is so significant as to be a case of ‘night and day,’ and was the main reason why, when it came to domestic terrorism, the counterterrorism center decided to focus exclusively on white supremacist groups.”