Trump Administration Refuses to Renew Domestic Terrorism Prevention Program

Just days after the worst act of deadly anti-Semitic violence in American history — the murder of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh — it’s come to light that the Trump administration doesn’t plan to renew funding to Department of Homeland Security programs aimed at combating domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence.

During his second term, President Obama created the Countering Violent Extremism grant program to be administered by the Department of Homeland Security. The initiative planned to contribute roughly $10 million to programs across the country in an effort to counter homegrown terrorism and white radicalism.

But the grants were temporarily withheld after Trump entered the White House. When funding was eventually dispersed, several grants were never handed out — including money for the only group explicitly focused on countering the spread of white supremacist ideology, Life After Hate.

Now, however, the Trump administration appears to have no intention to renew the grant program at all.

George Selim, a former DHS official who oversaw the program, says, “What we’ve lost here is the creation of infrastructure to prevent the threats of the future.”

Former DHS senior official John Cohen laments the declining focus on domestic terrorism. “We know what the problem is … it’s happening on a regular basis in this country. We’re just not doing enough to stop it,” he says.

Given the recent high-profile acts of right-wing domestic terrorism — not just the Pittsburgh attack, but also the mail bomber – such a move couldn’t possibly seem more out of touch with reality. Media attention notwithstanding, data shows that domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence has seen an uptick in recent years.

But it is a stretch to say this move is rooted in the Trump administration’s ignorance; it’s entirely deliberate.

In September, reports surfaced that the Trump administration had reallocated $9.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a DHS agency, to Immigration and Customs Enforcement just ahead of Hurricane Florence.

It was also discovered that the White House had moved over $200 million in funding from a variety of other DHS agencies in order to support the exploding expenses incurred by ICE for deportations and jail operations. It would be hardly surprising if this was also a justification for ending the DHS domestic counter-terrorism grant program.

In a sense, Trump is killing two birds with one stone by  gutting domestic terrorism prevention programs and boosting ICE funding. Not only does this help continue this administration’s anti-immigrant campaign, but by taking the heat off of white nationalists, the decision also boosts his current support base: the radical right.

If this last point might sound like a stretch, let’s recall when Trump decided to dispense with pretenses by openly calling himself a “nationalist” at a recent rally. But that’s hardly the first time he’s pandered to the radical right — whether it’s calling the neo-Nazi demonstrators at last year’s deadly Charlottesville rally “very fine people” or employing anti-Semitic people in his administration.

Trump knows he’s rapidly losing support from centrist Republicans, and he’s decided to play to his most loyal supporters: white supremacists.

Photo Credit: The White House

17 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 days ago

Thank you.

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silja salonen
silja salonen9 days ago

Sunday i .. the 11th Month ... the 11th Day on the 11th Hour. On this day we remember the fallen and those who fought in wars so that we could live in peace. When the home many are forgotten. This is a travesty! Full Stop!. Whether you agree with the policies or not these women and men gave of themselves. When home they need all the support so that they too can live in PEACE.. please do something to alleviate their emotional and physical burdens. When they reach out in pain for the trauma they have lived while in the (theatre) of war ... Please listen and help them. otherwise tragedies will continue; by suicide or by ......

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silja salonen
silja salonen10 days ago

today is November 8th 2018; the morning after yet another mass shooting. 12 dead and 15 injured. this act of terrorism was executed in California. A ex-Marine honourably discharged. honestly do something ... it is the guns guns guns guns that are killing americans .

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Susanne R
Susanne R11 days ago

Trump could very well have reallocated that funding to help save his own pitiful presidency. Who inspires more hate than the supremacist-in-chief?

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Joan E
Joan E11 days ago

Rhoberta, I believe one of Trump's racist ancestors was an orange tanning bed.

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Joan E
Joan E11 days ago

I hope this is one of Trump's abuses that will be cut off at the knees now that the House is under Democratic control. There are plenty of skillful prosecutors in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. There will be much-needed investigations & big changes in what will and will not be tolerated.

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pam w
pam w11 days ago

Why? Are they afraid they'll get CAUGHT?

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David C
David C11 days ago

Lets make America Brave again.....and finally move beyond the racism......and sexism...and anti-semitism....and islamophobia.......

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Lesa D
Lesa D11 days ago

the trump administration IS a domestic terror program itself...

thank you Llowell...

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E12 days ago

david f
You mean like trump and so many LIKE him ? Personally, as far as trump goes, I don't really know what race is "ORANGE" like his !!

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