According to the FBI, a hate group is “an organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons of or with a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity which differs from that of the members or the organization.”
Well, President Donald Trump pretty much checks off every box in that qualifying phrase. If Trump were an organization instead of an individual, he would be classified as a “hate group” under the FBI definition.
To be fair, let’s break it down element by element:
Based on race:
Trump’s proclivity for attacking people of color in general, and specifically black people, is undeniable.
Before becoming president, Trump championed the birther movement against President Barack Obama. He launched his presidential campaign by blasting Mexicans as “rapists.” Trump has spent his first months in office insulting black athletes who protest against police brutality during the national anthem.
Then there was Charlottesville. Trump waited two days to comment on the Unite the Right rally where white supremacists marched through the town with torches and chanted Nazi slogans. The demonstration culminated with the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was run over by a car driven by a white supremacist.
“You also had some very fine people on both sides,” Trump said when asked about the violence. He also said there was violence “on both sides.”
Based on religion
Trump’s display of religious intolerance became clear when he retweeted a trio of “fake” anti-Muslim videos originally posted by a British far-right group.
The inflammatory posts purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims were retweeted from the account of Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the Nazi group Britain First. Fransen was convicted last year of harassing a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf based on her religion.
None of the Islamophobic videos were immediately verifiable and Dutch media reported that the third video, titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches,” was in fact “fake news.” The attacker was neither a Muslim nor a migrant, according to Dutch police.
And let’s not forget that Trump’s first executive order was to impose a travel ban for Muslim-majority countries.
Based on disability
During a campaign speech, Trump famously mocked disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski even pantomiming the body movements of Kovaleski as a result of the congenital joint condition arthrogryposis.
“Now, the poor guy—you’ve got to see this guy!” Trump said of Kovaleski, who was part of a Times team that debunked Trump’s claim that he saw American Muslims cheering the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Based on sexual orientation, gender or gender identity:
In 2017, Trump became the first sitting president to speak at the Family Research Council, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
Also, on the 79th anniversary of President Truman’s signing of Executive Order 9981 that established equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services, Trump signed an executive order prohibiting transgender people from serving in the military. The federal district court later struck it down, finding the order unconstitutional.
So, does Trump peddle racist propaganda? No doubt. Has he played footsie with extremists? Absolutely. And that’s part of the FBI definition.