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Hundreds of armed right-wingers, including skinheads and self-proclaimed militias, traveled to Gettysburg on July 4 to confront Antifa protesters burning American flags.
But when they got to the historic battlefield, there were no Antifa members to be found. The gun-toting counterprotesters who descended upon Gettysburg to confront Antifa, and use force if necessary, had been duped by an online hoax.
What happened on Independence Day showed how easy it is to leverage fear of Antifa — a loosely affiliated group of left-wing, anti-fascist activists with no leader — and potentially incite violence in the process.
Now, months later, President Donald Trump and his allies are tapping into the same angry, fearful sentiments ahead of Election Day, and normalizing the possibility of violence surrounding the 2020 election. In an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, Trump even hinted he would invoke the Insurrection Act to violently crackdown on any post-election rioting, and suggested to Pirro he would deploy federal forces “very quickly” if necessary. It’s part of a concerted strategy from Trump to build up the narrative that the nation will break down in factional violence if he isn’t reelected.
For months, Trump has been hitting his supporters with a constant barrage of unfounded, racist warnings about a group he terms “ANTIFA THUGS” invading suburbs across the US if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election.
Despite Trump’s efforts to paint Antifa as a major threat, there’s scant evidence to back that up. Antifa is not an organized group, and has not been designated a terrorist organization by the federal government. Yet, painting Antifa as a visceral threat has become a central piece of Trump’s “law and order” messaging. Trump has attempted to turn the Black Lives Matter movement and its affiliated groups into a monolith, portraying them as anti-American anarchists determined to tear the country apart.
Trump is defending right-wing violence and inflating the threat of the left in an effort to bolster his reelection
Last month, a caravan of Trump supporters drove into Portland, Oregon, to confront Black Lives Matter protesters who’ve been engaged in perhaps the most sustained demonstrations the country has seen this year.
There were reports of caravan members firing paintballs and using pepper spray on the protesters. Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was affiliated with the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was ultimately shot and killed amid the clashes.
It was evident that the presence of the Trump supporters in the city exacerbated the situation. But instead of calling for calm and condemning violence on all sides, Trump praised his supporters as “GREAT PATRIOTS” while decrying the anti-racism protesters.
During his interview with Pirro over the weekend, Trump applauded police for fatally shooting Michael Forest Reinoehl, an Antifa supporter who’s suspected of killing Danielson. Police shot Reinoehl without warning or attempting to arrest him first, according to a witness, and did not appear to be armed.
But Trump praised the actions of the officers. “This guy was a violent criminal, …read more
Source:: Business Insider