Homeland Security Official Warns of Danger From Right-Wing Extremists
Elizabeth Neumann was a top official in the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump Administration. She resigned in April. Neumann is a life-long, self-described, “conservative Republican.” She is also a conservative Christian. She voted for Trump in 2016, albeit “reluctantly.”
Now she’s sounding the alarm. In an interview today with NPR she said that the threat of domestic terrorism from the right is real and growing, but nothing is being done about it by the Trump Administration. No, that’s not quite right. Something is being done about it. This President is encouraging it.
“If you had a very clear voice at the top, from the president, from other senior leaders in the Republican Party, denouncing this and warning conservatives — warning Republicans — that these groups are trying to recruit you based on things that might sound like a typical conservative belief, but behind it is this insidious, ugly, evil thing, if we had more clear voices talking about it — it would somewhat inoculate people from that recruitment and that radicalization,” she says. “But instead, we have the opposite effect. We have the president not only pretty much refusing to condemn, but throwing fuel on the fire, creating opportunities for more recruitment through his rhetoric.” (italics added)
“Throwing fuel on the fire.” That’s the real truth about this “law and order” President.
Neumann says that these right-wing groups have adopted the ISIS (Islamic State) playbook to radicalize people on-line. She tried in vain to get White House funding to respond to these growing threats, but was unsuccessful. You can’t talk about “domestic terrorism” or “white supremacist” movements to this White House. They don’t want to hear it.
More from Neumann:
“‘He [Trump] uses rhetoric to scare people. This is a known psychological tactic that if you get people to fear, they tend to follow you to the solution of “How are we going to save ourselves?” And his answer is, ‘It’s me. If you vote for me, I will save you,’ she says. ‘Well, for some people, the way that they think that they need to protect themselves, it’s more than just a vote for a president. It’s “let me go kill people.”
And she points out that the violence that is happening in urban protests is not Antifa as Trump and his supporters allege. It is right-wing groups. The article linked above reports as follows:
“When Trump finally started using the term ‘domestic extremism’ himself in the summer of 2020, it was in reference to the violence and looting that occurred during the protests across the country against police brutality targeting Black Americans, which the president attributed to ‘antifa.’ For Neumann, this was an obvious red herring. She says that the numbers don’t bear out the idea that left-wing violence is as much of a problem as right-wing violence, and arrests during the summer’s protests demonstrate that.
“‘If you look at the people that have been arrested for that, by and large, I mean, it’s the boogaloo movement or it’s an association with QAnon. It’s the right side of the spectrum. It is not antifa.’ She’s unequivocal about this: ‘The threat of domestic terrorism is not from antifa. It is from these right-wing movements.'”
“She’s unequivocal about this.”
And she’s so concerned about it and the implications of a second Trump term that for the first time in her life she will vote for a Democrat, Joe Biden.
“I am really concerned that in a second term, he will not have the ability to make wise decisions because there are no officials surrounding him anymore that have the experience and the gravitas to be able to tell him, ‘No, you cannot do this, this is illegal.’ Or: ‘If you do this, it is likely that this other nation-state will respond in a drastic way that will lead us to war.’ That’s what’s at stake here,” she says.”
“It’s his style. His style is chaos itself. And when you have chaos at the top of the federal government, that creates chaos throughout every other level of government. That means we cannot perform our security functions well,” she says. “The first and primary job of a president, the first and primary job of the federal government, is to protect us.” (italics added)
In two of my recent posts I have argued that the vast number of guns and other weapons in the hands of Americans creates a very dangerous situation. Add in a President who is fanning the flames and fears and we are really playing with fire.
Thank you Elizabeth Neumann for speaking up and speaking out. We know you will pay a steep price in vicious attacks by Donald Trump and his minions.