President Donald Trump and his allies insist that the president’s divisive and sometimes hateful rhetoric — particularly surrounding immigration — have no bearing on the real-world actions of those committing violence in his name.
But an ABC News analysis discovered “at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.”
In its nationwide review, the news outlet found nine cases in which “perpetrators hailed Trump in the midst or immediate aftermath of physically attacking innocent victims”; 10 cases in which “perpetrators cheered or defended Trump while taunting or threatening others”; and another 10 cases in which “Trump and his rhetoric were cited in court to explain a defendant's violent or threatening behavior.”
ABC News found another seven cases involving “violent or threatening acts perpetrated in defiance of Trump, with many of them targeting Trump's allies in Congress” — but 29 of the 36 involved individuals parroting Trump’s rhetoric rather than protesting it.
The outlet noted that it found zero criminal cases in which President Barack Obama or President George W. Bush were named by the perpetrator as a motivating factor for their threat or act of violence.
Last week, following the El Paso, Texas, shooting, in which the gunman confessed to killing 22 people and whose manifesto mirrored much of Trump’s immigration rhetoric, the president said, "I think my rhetoric brings people together.”
Read the full report, including details of the 36 cases.