The Washington Post, June 1, 2020
The groups are loosely organized, and they aren’t large enough to cause everything Trump blames them for.
Did the tragic video of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis throw you into a fit of rage? Of sadness and despair? Did it make you want to burn down a police station?
Whether it did or (more likely) did not, you might be among the many Americans who sympathize with the outburst of anger behind the overturning of police cruisers and the smashing of storefronts in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death, even if you disagree with property destruction. Though “violent” protest tactics are generally unpopular, they command attention and force us to ask: How did we get here?
President Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr and their allies have a simple and convenient answer: “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left,” as Trump tweeted on Saturday. “In many places,” Barr explained, “it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic … and far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.” “Domestic extremists,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted, are “taking advantage of protest to further their own unrelated agenda.” After another night of destruction that included the burning of the former slave market called the Market House in Fayetteville, N.C., Trump upped the stakes on Sunday by declaring that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”