On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that the United States government “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”
Short for “anti-fascist,” Antifa is a radical far-left movement that, according to Fox News, many observers believe is behind much of the violence that has plagued America for the past week amid the protests over the Minnesota death of George Floyd.
The declaration came a day after Trump addressed the “horrible” problem of “rioters, looters, and anarchists” during a speech in Florida.
“Security not anarchy”
“We support the right of peaceful protesters, and we hear their pleas,” Trump said about the demonstrations occurring across the country during remarks made at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.
“But,” the president went on to state, “what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or peace.
“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters, and anarchists,” Trump complained, attributing the disorder to “Antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.”
He went on to point out that “[t]he main victims of this horrible, horrible situation are the citizens who live in these once lovely communities.”
“The mobs are devastating the life’s work of good people and destroying their dreams. Right now America needs creations, not destruction, co-operation not contempt, security not anarchy, and there will be no anarchy,” the president declared.
According to Bloomberg, Trump insisted, “Civilization must be cherished, defended, and protected. The voices of law-abiding citizens must be heard and heard very loudly,” adding:
We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities. We must defend the rights of very citizen to live without violence, prejudice or fear.
Barr promises additional action
In addition to the president’s pledge to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization, Attorney General Bill Barr revealed on Saturday, according to Axios, that the Justice Department is prepared to utilize a statute from 1968 in order to punish those who cross state lines or use interstate facilities to either incite or engage in violent rioting.
Known as the Anti-Riot Act, the statute makes such conduct a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
“We must have law and order on our streets and in our communities,” Barr told reporters at a briefing on Saturday, according to the New York Post.