Charlottesville, Virginia, may have been the epicenter of white supremacist rhetoric and rage this weekend, but it’s certainly not the only U.S. city where hate groups have taken root.
SPLC found that the number of hate groups (defined as people harboring “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics”) had been declining since 2011 but spiked in the last couple years during the presidential election.
″[President Donald] Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country,” the report stated.
SPLC reported 1,094 “bias incidents” swept the country in the 34 days following Election Day in 2016.
“The hate was clearly tied directly to Trump’s victory,” the report stated.
Many white nationalists, such as those involved in the violent clashes Saturday in Charlottesville while protesting the removal of a Confederate statue, have embraced Trump and felt emboldened by his rise to power.
Hours after 20-year-old white nationalist James Alex Fields allegedly rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters Saturday, killing Heather Heyer, 32, Trump vaguely condemned the hatred and bigotry from “many sides.”
Days later, the president had yet to personally denounce extremist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, involved in Saturday’s protests, which left three dead and at least 19 injured. Lawmakers on both the left and right lambasted his soft response, while some white supremacist groups praised it.
“He didn’t attack us,” Andrew Anglin, founder of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, wrote Sunday. “He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.”
“No condemnation at all,” Anglin continued. “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”
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