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Three Ways the Trump Administration Has Downplayed White Supremacy

| August 13, 2017

charlottesville domestic terrorism

Domestic terrorism, hooded. (@babyitsmb )

In the wake of the protests by neo-Nazis and white supremacists that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, President Donald Trump has come under fire for not immediately and clearly condemning American racists.

It’s not the first time. In the weeks leading up to the protests, Trump and those close to him have often played down the real threat of violence being committed by white supremacists on a regular basis across the country.

Here are three stark examples of how the Trump administration positioned itself in the run-up to Saturday’s act of terrorism and the associated violent protests.

Trump cuts funding for a group that fights white supremacy

It’s a story that has largely floated under the radar, but the Trump Administration’s gutting of the flagship Obama program Countering Violence Extremism should be a bigger deal.

Launched in 2014, the program originally sought to provide funding for grassroots groups with innovative approaches to fighting terrorism where it begins: in at-risk communities. In 2016, as Obama’s second term drew to a close, Congress approved $10 million in grant funds for the program.

In January, after a lengthy approval process, the Department of Homeland Security announced grants for an array of organizations including Life After Hate, a group that helps white supremacists transition out of their racist lifestyle and start new lives.

But the Trump administration immediately froze the funding. For months, the organizations waited for its checks, unsure what was happening.  

“The impact is that now we have to spend our time trying to raise money, instead of doing the work that we need to be doing,” Life After Hate’s Angela King told us in May.

Then, in June, the administration announced it was completely rejiggering the grants. Life After Hate’s $400,000 award was unceremoniously cut, as was another $900,000 to researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill for developing a comprehensive program countering online white supremacist propaganda.

The decision is hardly surprising against the backdrop of rumors circulating for months that Trump plans to rename the Countering Violence Extremism program “Countering Islamic Extremism,” a tacit acknowledgment of the administration’s belief that all terrorism is rooted in radical Islam.

Trump adviser says all terrorism is rooted in ISIS or al-Qaeda

We know that the Trump administration believes all terrorism committed on U.S. soil is the work of radical Islamists in part because Trump’s top terrorism adviser said exactly that, three days before the Charlottesville protests.

Sebastian Gorka, a self-described terrorism expert, told the Breitbart News Daily radio show on Wednesday that “(t)here has never been a serious attack or a serious plot that was unconnected from ISIS or al Qaeda.”

Gorka’s comments doubled down on what he had said previously on MSNBC: “There’s no such thing as a lone wolf … that was a phrase invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid.”

Then, what appears to be exactly that – a lone wolf white supremacist – attacked protesters, killing one, in Charlottesville.

Gorka’s comments reflect the Trump administration’s broader rhetoric on terrorism, which obsesses about violence perpetrated by radical Islamists, but seems to brush off the threat of homegrown terrorism committed by white Americans.

As we reported earlier this year, there have been at least six actual or foiled terror attacks in America in recent years committed by white supremacists who identify with Odinism, an ancient Nordic religion. In fact, in collaboration with Reveal the Investigative Fund reported in June that during the past nine years right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many domestic terrorism incidents as Islamist terrorists. And according to the New America Foundation, radical white wing extremists have killed at least 67 people in America since 9/11.

Gorka’s comments also willfully ignore several high-profile lone wolf terror attacks committed by non-Muslim white men, including the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and Dylann Roof’s slaying of eight African American churchgoers in Charleston in 2015.

Trump adviser says ‘there are no white supremacists in America

Last month, Reveal’s Al Letson talked with former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone as part of his Al Letson Reveals series.

In an interview rife with hyperbole, perhaps the most eye-opening moment came when Stone insisted to Letson: “There are no white supremacists, my friend.”

Stone went on to clarify that white supremacists are “a tiny microcosm of the United States.” He also claimed that “The Ku-Klux Klan today is funded by the federal government.”

Perhaps Stone would like to clarify (or retract) his statement, given the turnout of white supremacists in Charlottesville on Saturday? We’d love to know more about that government funding, too.

We have reached out to him on Twitter for comment.

–Will Carless, Reveal/The Center for Investigative Reporting


Reveal of The Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at


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21 Responses for “Three Ways the Trump Administration Has Downplayed White Supremacy”

  1. A tiny manatee says:

    I think, when it comes to white supremacy or fascism in general, people should acknowledge the lessons of the past. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledged that passive resistance didn’t work with the klan, it took violent resistance.

  2. Greg Everett says:

    This is total bull. We are the majority. You are the minority. Your hatred for Trump shows that you are the true racist.

  3. Watching Closely says:

    Another one of 45’s dirty little secrets. David Duke called him out on this…and reminded him that THESE are the people that elected him. It was to THESE people that he was playing to on the campaign trail. Now this (among his other sins) is coming back to bite him in the butt for all to see. I do hope there is a special kind of hell all set and waiting up for 45.

  4. Flatsflyer says:

    We have plenty of racist here in Flatter County, taking a drive west of Bunnell, into Flagler Estates or even through the Walmart parking lot will prove my point.

  5. Pogo says:

    @FL Readers



    1. disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred.

    2. very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.

    3. Pathology.

    a. tending to produce death, as bubonic plague.

    b. (of a tumor) characterized by uncontrolled growth; cancerous, invasive, or metastatic.



    1. see malignant

  6. Marlee says:

    How many Americans died fighting the Nazis in WW 11 ??????

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Just a real shame!
    Trump is forcing America to go back to the 60’s and before! We don’t need another civil war to display in this POTUS resume along a nuclear conflict!

  8. ken says:

    Somehow whites alone are cast as racists.
    How is this for racism?
    According to the Roper poll
    Only 6% of blacks voted for Romney in 2012
    39% of whites voted for Obama.
    So who are the racists?

  9. Gkimp says:

    White Supremacist make up about .1 % of the population, why does the media keep giving them a platform? They are vile and insignificant!

  10. Carol says:

    Greg Everett Our hatred is not for one man. Our anger is for the politics of division; the nazi and fascist ideology that has been legitimized; the prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry espoused and embraced by the altright which hails this man as having “emboldened” them – their words, not mine. Our anger is directed at the people who malign and disparage our American values.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone who voted for this man, or stayed home and didn’t even bother to vote because they thought it didn’t matter, has the rank smell of racism on their hands.

  12. Flyer1 says:


    The problem is that anyone who believes in limited government and disagrees with identity politics is labeled a fascist! And with that it becomes OK to use violence against those ‘fascist’ ideas.

  13. Anonymous says:

    and Obama down played blm as a terroristic racist group….actually ignored the problem completely and created this mess…

  14. Rick Kang says:

    Stop the HATE from the Left and Right! We are ALL Americans! Stop listening to FAKE news! Obama, as the 1st White(mother)/Black(father) POTUS should have united ALL Americans!

  15. Nancy N. says:

    Anonymous – ah, yes, the time honored “blame the victim” defense. Psst – your racism is hanging out, might want to tuck it back in.

  16. Lou says:


  17. Becky says:

    Don’t be a tool. Trump Disavowing David Duke #KKK from 1991 to 2017, Trump calls Duke “bigot” & “a problem” #Charlottesville

  18. Becky says:

    Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush Bush

  19. Ray D says:

    We’re all in this together. Hillary lost. Trump won. Move on. Be positive. Trump is not a racist. His statements today were totally to the point. It did not need to be said but he said it.

  20. Fredrick says:

    Just because you are liberal, doesn’t mean you are a gun grabbing, baby killing, perpetually offended, anti cop, atheistic, socialist.
    Just because you are a conservative, doesn’t mean you are a racist, bigoted, misogynistic, uneducated, homophobic, neo-Nazi.
    The Anti-Fa, and the Alt-Right are both the extreme fringe of the left and right respectively. The actions of both sides should be equally condemned, and called out by both the media and the political leadership.
    Trump is failing to call out the Alt-Right for the same politically expedient reasons that Obama refused to call out Radical Islam and the BLM.
    The media is failing to call out the Anti-Fa because of a left leaning bias.
    It’s not a binary choice, you can be liberal or conservative without being an asshole about it!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Trump is the only man that has spoke up against fake news and biased reporting. I see nothing wrong with the off the cuff comments Trump has made. He tells it like it is. You can’t erase history. It is too bad we haven’t had a President who wasn’t a puppet the past 8 years. It would be worse if Hillary were to have gotten elected.

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