A brief tweet by President Donald Trump, which declared an obvious truth, is causing far-left extremists in the United States to jump to the defense of the domestic terrorist organization known as Antifa.
The tweet stated simply, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a terrorist organization.”
As of this writing, Twitter has not yet “fact-checked” the president’s tweet, nor has the company accused him of “glorifying violence” with the remark.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which occurred last week after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, has caused Antifa to reemerge from the shadows. The group has used Floyd’s death as an excuse to create anarchy in cities across the United States.
And left-wing America thinks that’s just fine.
B. Dolan, who is allegedly a rapper, spoken-word artist, and criminal activist from Rhode Island, answered the president’s assertion with a tweet of his own: “How did I know I’d eventually be designated a ‘terrorist’ by my own country? I’m an accomplice, here to leverage my privilege and platform, in support of movements for social and environmental justice. Also, will punch Nazis or help you find a medic. #IamAntifa.”
And lest you believe that Antifa is only being defended by fringe nobodies such as Dolan and his brethren, there are numerous examples of others with more “gravitas” defending the thugs.
Former John Kerry and Hillary Clinton advisor Peter Daou tried to explain why the president was wrong in his opinion: “Let’s be crystal clear. 1. #ANTIFA = Anti-fascist. 2. Domestic terrorism is overwhelmingly carried out by the RIGHT, not the left.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) came out on the side of the Antifa terrorists as well. The organization’s National Security Project Director, Hina Shamsi, claimed that there was “no legal authority for designating a domestic group” as a terrorist organization.
“As this tweet demonstrates, terrorism is inherently a political label, easily abused and misused. There is no legal authority for designating a domestic group. Any such designation would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns.”
The news media got into the game too, with MSNBC’s Joy Reid jumping to Antifa’s defense. “What’s weird is that if you spelled out the acronym for this loose movement called “antifa” stands for and rewrite Trump’s tweet accordingly, it would read: The United States of America will be designating anti-fascists as a terrorist organization.”
And if it weren’t bad enough in Minneapolis, Jeremiah Ellison, the son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and a member of the Minneapolis City Council, officially declared his support for those involved in the looting, arson and other rioting activities in his own city — conditionally. Ellison is among those who believe — despite all evidence to the contrary — that it’s actually white supremacist groups who are engaging in the violence.
“I hereby declare, officially, my support for ANTIFA. Unless someone can prove to me that ANTIFA is behind the burning of black and immigrant owned businesses in my ward, I’ll keep focusing on stopping the white power terrorist group. THE [people who] ARE ACTUALLY ATTACKING US!”
Ellison’s father Keith, Minnesota’s attorney general, is ultimately in charge of charging and prosecuting Chauvin and the other officers involved in the incident. We can hope that the apple simply fell far from the tree, and that the A.G. will actually be fair while doing his job.
But a statement that the attorney general made this morning seems to quell that hope. Talking about his son’s comment on CNN, the senior Ellison stated: “I think that was a comment about the absurdity of the president’s more than anything else.”
Ellison further claimed that there was no evidence that Antifa was involved in any of the looting and violence. “We don’t see what the president is talking about, I don’t think the president sees what he’s talking about,” Ellison stated.
Regardless of the anti-Trump and pro-Antifa views of the above-mentioned individuals, some of them may have a valid point. While individuals have been convicted of acts of domestic terrorism or labeled as domestic terrorists, the U.S. government has resisted labeling entire groups domestic terrorist organizations. As Mary McCord, the former head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, told a House panel in January, “Unless an organization engages solely in unprotected activity, such as committing crimes of violence, any designation of a [U.S.-based] organization as a terrorist organization … would likely run afoul of the First Amendment.” Bradley Wiegmann, an attorney in the Justice Department’s National Security Division, agrees: “Designating domestic groups as ‘domestic terrorist organization’ and picking out particular groups that you say disagree with their views and so forth is going to be highly problematic, in a way that’s not when you’re designating al-Qaida or ISIS or an international terrorist organization.”
Labeling domestic groups terrorist organizations could set a terrible precedent. For example, suppose a future left-leaning president decides to label conservative Christian pro-life groups “domestic terrorist organizations”? Furthermore, if a group is labeled as a domestic terrorist organization, how would “membership” in that group be defined? Would following such a group on Facebook and sharing their content constitute membership, or at least indicate a “link” to a terrorist organization?
If organized individuals are committing violent crimes, then the full weight of U.S. law enforcement should be brought down on them, but constitutional protections regarding freedom of speech and assembly need to be recognized.
Photo: AP Images
James Murphy is a freelance journalist who writes on a variety of subjects, with a primary focus on the ongoing anthropogenic climate-change hoax and cultural issues. He can be reached at jcmurphyABR@mail.com