We begin today’s roundup with John Allen and Brett McGurk, who were special presidential envoys for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS. In an op-ed in The Washington post, they write that defeating the ideology of white nationalism will require the same tactics used to address terrorism from ISIS:
The United States now faces a new national security threat. The enemy is not the Islamic State but domestic and homegrown white nationalist terrorism. And “terrorism” is the term that must be used. The strain of thought driving this terrorism is now a global phenomenon, with mass atrocities in Norway, New Zealand, South Carolina and also, law enforcement authorities suspect, El Paso. The attacks are cheered on by adherents in dark (but readily accessible) corners of the Internet. The terrorist acts may differ from Islamic State attacks in degree, but they are similar in kind: driven by hateful narratives, dehumanization, the rationalization of violence and the glorification of murder, combined with ready access to recruits and weapons of war.
The first step to overcoming this dangerous strain of violence is to speak clearly and without equivocation. It is terrorism directed at innocent American civilians. If the Islamic State or al-Qaeda were committing such acts, the nation would mobilize as one to overcome it. The U.S. government would deploy all legal means at its disposal to root out the facilitators of violence and protect the American people from further harm. The United States would speak with a clear voice and lead the world in a determined response, strengthening alliances and sharing information with its allies. Unfortunately, when it comes to white nationalist terrorism, President Trump speaks with equivocation, and his rhetoric, wittingly or not, has the effect of providing cover for extremists who excuse their actions in the language of political grievance.
This interview with a former white nationalist by Yara Bayoumy and Kathy Gilsinan is a must-read:
Bayoumy: Talk to us about the evolution you’ve seen since you were in the movement 30 years ago—these views used to be on the fringe, and now are much more mainstream.
Picciolini: Unfortunately, I think that the underpinnings of the ideology have always been there. The extremists were on the fringe, and very visible, but other people weren’t willing to voice those beliefs. Thirty years ago, when I was in the movement, we were turning off the average American white racists who didn’t want to be so open and visible about those beliefs. So there was this effort to make it more mainstream, to grow the hair out, turn in the “boots for suits.” I never thought we would have a social and political climate that really kind of brought it to the foreground. Because it’s starting to seem less like a fringe ideology and more like a mainstream ideology.
Dana Milbank dedicates his column to the travel advisories that are being issued about the United States:
Suddenly, we’re the banana republic, and the rest of the world is warning about the dangerous and hate-filled place under President Trump’s administration. Pretty soon they’ll be warning visitors to boil drinking water and to take preventive antibiotics.
Here’s Adam Sewer’s take at The Atlantic:
There must always be room in politics for uncivil, intemperate, even vitriolic language. But justifying or glorifying political violence is different. Most politicians do not encourage their supporters to shoot people, as Trump did in Florida in May. Trump’s repeated invocations of redemptive political violence are what grants him a measure of responsibility when those who take his rhetoric seriously decide to engage in such violence. Neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on acts of political violence, but there is no leader on the left who delights in it and encourages it the way Trump does. At least three times now, men convicted of planning or carrying out violent crimes targeting individuals or communities singled out by Trump have cited the president as inspiration by name.
And Jamil Smith at Rolling Stone:
To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren from last week’s debate, why talk about what we can’t do? More to the point, why talk about things that this isn’t about? If a guy drives about nine hours from Dallas to El Paso to murder 20 people, and then we lay blame for that on immigration, we buy into his framing. No, the root causes of these actions are almost always threefold: easy access to guns, adherence to white-supremacist ideology, and a history of misogyny and associated violence. We already see all three threads running through the Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton shootings, to varying degrees — and that is before much investigation has taken place.
On a final note, Hanna Trudo and Gideon Resnick at The Daily Beast break down plans from the 2020 Democratic field to combat white nationalism and domestic terrorism:
As a chorus of 2020 Democrats linked an onslaught of deadly violence from a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend to President Trump’s rhetoric on minorities and immigrants, several campaigns have moved to release proposals specifically aimed at addressing the growing white supremacist threat in the country. Others have started reaching out to experts for domestic terrorism policy data and recommendations, The Daily Beast has learned.