Posted on November 27, 2018

Trump Justice Department Coddles Antifa

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, November 27, 2018

In some ways, President Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air when it comes to antifa. He names them for what they are and condemns them. This is better than most conservatives, who pretend they don’t exist. It’s far better than some Republicans, such as Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, who actually praise them.

Yet as with his administration generally, President Trump is just another Republican when it comes to stopping antifa. He lets them roam free, even as he talks tough: “They better hope that the opposition to antifa decides not to mobilize,” the president said recently. “Because if they do, they’re much tougher. Much stronger. . . . But so far they haven’t done that and that’s a good thing.”

In fact, groups have mobilized to stop antifa, after years of suffering near constant attacks against right-leaning conferences, demonstrations, and even Donald Trump speeches. One of the most prominent was the Rise Against Movement. Its members were recently charged with “conspiracy to riot,” and U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen thanked far-left activist group ProPublica for providing a “starting point” for the investigation. He even used research from an antifa group.

What’s more, the FBI considers the Proud Boys — an avowedly anti-racist civic nationalist organization — an “extremist group.” This came to light in a Nov. 19 report from the Clark County, Washington Sheriff’s Office about one of its female deputy sheriffs who was fired because a local Proud Boy was once her boyfriend. According to the sheriff’s office, the FBI “characterizes the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.” The report adds that the group “openly discriminates against people of Muslim faith and Jewish faith,” “openly discriminates against people of different national origins and ethnicity,” and “openly advocates the overthrow of the federal government.”

These are astonishing charges against a group’s whose motto “all races, all religions, gay or straight” is right on the home page of its website. The notion that the Proud Boys “openly advocate the overthrow of the federal government” is as absurd as accusing them of being Russian agents.

Police in the Pacific Northwest have bigger problems than the Proud Boys. Riots are so frequent in Portland (where even the deputies from Clark County have sometimes been called in) that the city’s very name is now linked to lawlessness. Two Saturdays ago, as usual, antifa protesting a “Him Too” rally organized by Patriot Prayer assaulted protesters and reporters. Andy Ngo, a rare local journalist who does not serve as a propogandist for the Left’s street militia, took video of masked antifa attacking people, even those walking away from the protest. Only a few were arrested, all for relatively minor charges.

The antifa also mocked police, emboldened by the presence of activists from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), conspicuous in their light green hats. The NLG is always eager to file lawsuits against police who try to restore order. The guild argues that officers give conservatives “preferential treatment” at protests partially because the left criticizes the police, but they also claim it is “likely” the police have “sympathy toward the ideas being espoused at alt-right rallies.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department would hardly be firing an officer for an affair with a Proud Boy if it were riddled with alt-right sympathies.

Police have also charged Proud Boys for defending themselves from antifa attacks, most notably in New York City last month. Right-leaning protesters from the “Him Too” rally in Portland seemed to know this; they urged followers not to fight back against antifa, even as they were spat on.  If a Proud Boy spat on a leftist or punched a leftist who spat on him, he would surely be charged with assault. The NLG would almost certainly not defend him

Leftist radicals enjoy financial, legal, and (most importantly) mainstream media support, but anyone who fights back is condemned by the very conservative movement he is trying to defend. Last month National Review editor Rich Lowry cheered the persecution of the Proud Boys and denounced the “poisonous allure of right-wing violence.”

Thus far, despite the massive rise in antifa violence since President Trump’s inauguration, there have been few legal penalties for the masked radicals. The majority of protesters arrested for rioting and other crimes during President Trump’s inauguration were let off without penalty. Former college professor Eric Clanton, who was caught on video splitting someone’s head open with a bike lock in an unprovoked attack, was let off with probation.

Even in non-political cases, antifa are treated leniently. Portland antifa leader Micah Rhodes pled guilty to sexual crimes involving an underage teen boy, but an Oregon judge ignored state sentencing requirements and gave him probation. These cases are in sharp contrast to the persecution of groups such as RAM and the Proud Boys, and the draconian penalties sought against Unite The Right protesters in Charlottesville caught in a melee that independent investigators concluded could have been prevented by state and local authorities.

President Donald Trump may mock antifa for supposedly having tiny muscles and living in basements, but they seem to have more power than he does. The Justice Department is ignoring their crimes while arresting and persecuting their enemies. If President Trump is serious about curbing antifa crimes, he should order acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to take action. Until he does, dissidents would be wise to ignore President Trump’s boasting. He is not dispensing equal justice.

One might imagine that President Trump is trying to flush out his antifa opponents so his Justice Department could arrest them. Of course, that’s not what’s happening. It’s just another manifestation of the tragedy of the Trump Administration; this president never really took control of his own government. Either he knows and doesn’t care what the FBI is doing or he doesn’t even know.