President Trump continues to connect with the American people even after the close of the 2016 election. Last night, the President spent over an hour at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
During his Phoenix rally, President Trump spent a fair amount of time discussing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, denouncing the Alt-Left protesters in Antifa by name, according to Breitbart News. “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks and they’ve got clubs, they’ve got everything,” the president said, calling out the group by name. “Antifa!”
“All week they’re talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside,” President Trump said of the Alt-Left movement. “Where are they? Where are they? Well, it’s hot out.”
While President Trump denounced the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups within days of the Charlottesville, Virginia protests, this was his first time denouncing Antifa protesters by name.
The National Review explains that Antifa (short for anti-fascist) can trace their roots to early European resistance to the rise of Fascism in the 1930s. The far-left group has seen multiple resurgences since the 1930s, specifically during the anti-globalization movement of the 1990s and the recent Occupy Wall Street protests.
The election of President Trump, however, has spurred the largest reincarnation of the political group closely connected with anarchism. Antifa activists have formed the violent wing of “#TheResistance” to Trump, and they believe he is a fascist attempting to usher a fascist regime into America.
Antifa came to public attention after they successfully shut down a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing provocateur, who was scheduled to appear at the University of California Berkeley in the days after Trump’s inauguration.
Over 1,500 students and faculty came to protest Yiannopoulos, a gay man with Jewish lineage. The protesters accused him of being a white supremacist. A large number of Antifa were part of the protests, which quickly descended into rioting. Protestors lit vehicles on fire, smashed windows, and threw bricks and foul liquids at police.
Left-wing protesters moved on from protesting controversial figures like Yiannopouslos to insinuating that mainstream conservatives are also supporting fascism in America. In April, UC Berkeley blocked Ann Coulter from giving a speech, citing security concerns. More recently, moderate, Heather MacDonald was physically blocked from speaking at another California college.
Even if one agrees with the perceived motives of Antifa, it is clear that mob rule has taken over the minds of once well-intentioned protesters. In their search for fascists to fight, Antifa has been forced to invent enemies to their movement. Coulter and MacDonald are far from fascists, yet are still the targets of left-wing violence.
The fight against fake-Nazis reached a high point over the weekend when a Colorado man was stabbed by an Antifa protester for sporting a haircut supposedly resembling that of a Nazi. Joshua Witt was stabbed while attempting to leave his vehicle in the parking lot of a Sheridan, Colorado restaurant. “Are you one of them neo-Nazis?” screamed a demented leftist as he attempted to stab Witt in the face. Luckily, Witt was able to block the knife with his hand and retreat back into his vehicle. Antifa’s next victim may not be so lucky.
Antifa’s next victim may not be so lucky. Hopefully, Trump calling out Antifa’s actions will help further expose the movement for their divisive and violent ideology, and move closer to a nation-wide recognition of the group as a terrorist organization.