As chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-02) has actively sought to raise the profile of domestic terrorism in terms of his party’s views on the issue. His goal as been to place white supremacist extremists on the domestic terrorism list.
Thompson called for legislation in late 2019 to “pull back the curtain from the full picture of terrorism in the United States” while being critical of the Trump Administration in the wake of mass shootings.
In an op-ed to The Hill in September 2019, Thompson wrote, “Domestic terrorists, like white supremacist extremists, rarely act in a vacuum. From the United States to New Zealand to Norway, networks of extremists—facilitated by anything-goes social media platforms… inspire each other to violence.”
Now, as American cities are being looted, arsonists are setting fires, and innocent people are being pulled in the street and beaten, the Democrat from Mississippi is slow to claim these acts are that of domestic terrorism, at least from the standpoint of the President.
In a statement to Y’all Politics, Thompson sides with the rioters, justifying their acts in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer appears to have used unreasonable force to restrain the man. Floyd is black and the now former police officer, who has been charged with murder and manslaughter, is white.
“Protesters in Minneapolis and across the country are employing their constitutional right of free speech and the right to assemble,” Thomspon said. “We are witnessing the expected result of African-Americans being brutalized and dehumanized for centuries. The police have historically tortured and murdered African-Americans at a disproportionate rate—usually with no consequence. Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary – but can lead to serious social reforms.”
President Donald Trump has moved to name Antifa a domestic terrorist group, laying the blame for the escalation squarely on the group. Antifa is a left-wing, anti-fascist, militant political activist group that often incite violence and damage to make their point against conservatives.
It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
Thompson, challenging the President’s claims, says Trump does not have that authority, adding that he sees right-wing extremists at the root of the riots.
“The President does not have the authority under federal law—or even the Constitution—to designate a domestic group as a terrorist organization,” Thompson said. “We have seen numerous reports from the news and state officials that right-wing extremists and white nationalists are infiltrating protests to purposely make things worse, sow chaos, and incite violence.”
Thompson, as the House Homeland Security Chairman, says he has asked for Federal government briefings on what is transpiring, “and we will be investigating all aspects of the issue.”