President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted that the United States “will be designating” Antifa as a “terrorist organization” amid a week of unrest across the country.
Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and Trump has alleged they and other radicals led violence across the US in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
As protests over the death of Floyd grew in cities across the US, other government officials also warned of “outsiders” – groups of organised rioters they said were flooding into major cities not to call for justice but to cause destruction.
But the state and federal officials offered differing assessments of who the outsiders were, blaming left-wing extremists, far-right white nationalists and even suggesting the involvement of drug cartels.
They offered little evidence to back up those claims, and the chaos of the protests made verifying identities and motives exceedingly difficult.
The finger pointing on both sides of the political spectrum is likely to deepen the political divide in the US, allowing politicians to advance the theory that aligns with their political view and distract from the underlying frustrations that triggered the protests.