Why is President Donald Trump so afraid to say these words: radical right-wing terrorism?
A week ago, we saw a repeat of the kinds of attacks that North Americans have been suffering for decades at the hands of radical racists. Alexandre Bissonnette sprayed gunfire inside a mosque in Quebec, Canada, killing six worshippers in the name of his fanatical cause.
The Trump White House condemned the "senseless violence" and called for increased vigilance. But nowhere was radical right-wing terrorism mentioned. When Dylann Roof walked into a Charleston, South Carolina, church and unleashed yet another spray of bullets, killing nine, the normally outspoken Trump was silent.
After Roof's conviction in December, Rev. Al Sharpton noted Trump's silence, saying, "I am surprised he hasn't addressed the verdict."
The same kinds of internet-based propaganda that inspire radicals to attack their enemies is as present in the right-wing terrorism world as it is among followers of the Islamic State group. But worse, there are right-wing militias currently training on U.S. soil, and the internet is replete with videos of their calls to action.
Long before the 9/11 attacks, the worst terrorist attack on American territory occurred at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and co-conspirator Terry Nichols were unabashed radical right-wing terrorists. But check the record. You won't hear Trump use those words.
Yet he spent years berating President Barack Obama for failing to use a specific label against Muslim radicals. Trump made it sound as if Obama were part of a vast conspiracy.
Trump stated on Fox News in June: "People cannot believe it. They cannot believe that President Obama ... can't even mention the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There is something going on; it is inconceivable. There is something going on." Trump went to great lengths to loudly enunciate the words "radical Islamic terrorism" at his inauguration.
A New York Times report noted on Thursday that even Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump admires, believes it's unwise to paint an entire religion with the terrorism label. "I would prefer Islam not be mentioned in vain alongside terrorism," Putin told reporters in December. Obama frequently echoed that sentiment.
The Department of Homeland Security has identified at least 24 violent attacks by extreme right-wing groups in the United States since 2010. The Southern Poverty Law Center published an exhaustive study in 2015 of terrorist plots hatched by right-wing groups.
Although the center's horrific list of crimes doesn't come close to matching the toll from the 9/11 attacks, right-wing attacks collectively dwarf the number of attacks carried out by Muslim radicals inside the United States.
Trump offers no explanation about why he singles out only Muslims for condemnation while excluding white Christians who commit equally heinous crimes. Is he afraid of offending his base?
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