Following the riots in dozens of cities across the nation that we’ve all seen over the past week, President Trump has officially designated the left-wing anarchic, self-described antifascist group Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.
The president tweeted on Sunday, May 31, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”
Coinciding with the president’s decision, Attorney General William Barr issued a statement on Sunday, May 31 discussing the riots and laying out the path that law enforcement will take to crack down on the group.
“To identify criminal organizers and instigators, and to coordinate federal resources with our state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using our existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF),” the Attorney General wrote. “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
Antifa has a long history of using violence to accomplish its goals and silence the speech of its opponents. In addition to chanting and shouting, Antifa members often use bricks, knives and other physical objects to physically harm those they are protesting.
The organization began to make headlines following the election of President Trump in 2016.
In a now viral video, conservative, gay journalist Andy Ngo was left bleeding from his head following a brutal attack from an Antifa member in 2019. Ngo also suffered a concussion during the attack.
Following the incident, Ngo said in an interview, “The cuts and bruising on my face have mostly healed. The most serious injury to me was my brain in the course of the mob beating, so going forward I will be having various forms of neurophysical therapy and speech therapy to address some of the neurological challenges that I’ll be having.”
“In a functioning liberal Democracy, we cannot normalize political violence,” Ngo concluded. One Antifa member was sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting someone during the same protest Ngo was covering.
In 2018, for all intents and purposes, Antifa initiated a hostile takeover of the streets of Portland, Oregon shutting down and then directing traffic in the middle of the road. A viral video (warning: explicit language) of the incident shows Antifa members walking through the streets as other members direct traffic.
When one car seems to disobey Antifa’s orders, several members of the crowd curse at the driver, kick his car, chase him down the street and pound on his window.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler defended the police department’s decision not to get involved. “I was appalled by what I saw in the video, but I support the Portland Police Bureau’s decision not to intervene,” Wheeler said in a press conference.
Many other incidents like this involving Antifa have occurred over the past several years.
Mainstream media outlets have been harshly criticized for being soft on Antifa’s violence. CNN’s Chris Cuomo has defended Antifa as those who are “fighting against hate.”
“I argue tonight that all punches are not equal morally,” Cuomo said. “In these eyes of the law, yes. But in the eyes of the good and evil… I argue no. Fighting against hate matters.”
It remains to be seen how hard law enforcement will target the leaders and members of Antifa.
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