‘It is very frustrating’: DHS official explains why Trump still has trouble labeling white supremacist killings as terrorism — but remains uniquely at-fault for US violence
Although President Donald Trump has spoken out against the August 3 terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas that has left 22 people dead, his critics have characterized his response as too little too late — complaining that Trump needs to be much more proactive in confronting the threat of white nationalist terrorism. And in a report by Betsy Woodruff and Erin Banco for the Daily Beast, an official for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is among those expressing extreme frustration.
An anonymous DHS official took issue with Trump’s assertion that mental health was a key factor in the El Paso attack, telling the Daily Beast, “This is a clear manifestation of the political discourse that has taken place in the country over the past two years or so. It cannot be blamed on mental health. This is an ideology-driven hate crime. This is terrorism, and the White House has trouble labeling it as such. It is very frustrating.”
Trump, during a speech on Monday, did say that “our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” But Woodruff and Banco note that he has been reluctant to even mention white supremacy in the past. And Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who specialized in counterterrorism, told the Daily Beast that Trump needs to be much more aggressive in confronting the threat of white nationalist terrorism.
“It is a good step to recognize the threat of white supremacy, but words alone cannot solve the problem,” Soufan asserted. “Action speaks louder than words. What kind of policy, legislations, designation and funding is the administration willing to propose, support and authorize in order to counter this emerging threat? This is where the rubber meets the road.”