Recent years have seen a troubling increase in domestic terrorism motivated by far-right ideology. A 2018 Washington Post analysis found that white supremacist and far-right violence has risen since Barack Obama’s presidency and “has surged since President Trump took office.” And in June 2019, a senior FBI counterterrorism official said that the agency had seen a significant increase in the number of white supremacist terrorism cases in the preceding months.
Despite this worrying trend, President Donald Trump’s administration has scaled back its efforts in combating such violence. After the 2016 election, the president’s transition team told Department of Homeland Security officials that it planned to shift the focus of such programs almost exclusively on radical Islam. Grants previously awarded through the department’s Countering Violent Extremism program for groups aimed at fighting radicalism and neo-Nazism were rescinded shortly after the president took office. And according to the Brennan Center, 85 percent of CVE grants now explicitly target violence by Muslims and other minority groups.
Other administration actions remain unclear. A new Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention was announced in April 2019 and appears to be, according to the Los Angeles Times, a “rebranding of an Obama-era initiative” with only a quarter of the staffing and about 10 percent the funding.
American Oversight is investigating the government’s response to right-wing terrorism, seeking information on how it has dealt with mass shootings and other incidents, and looking into the influence that outside anti-immigrant groups and certain political appointees have had on federal policy.