In the midst of yet another wild weekend in Portland, where black-clad members of the violent, anarchist group named Antifa squared off against members of the right-wing Proud Boys organization, President Donald Trump tweeted that his White House was continuing to deliberate over whether or not to slap Antifa with the “terrorist” designation.
“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” wrote Trump on Saturday. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job.”
From early reports, it seems that the Saturday demonstrations in Portland went rather more smoothly than previous confrontations between Antifa and the supposed “fascists” that they oppose. Police arrested 13 individuals for various violations, but Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has come under sharp criticism for taking a passive hand against the raucous group, praised the protesters for a relatively peaceful day.
“Given the continuing movement and the number of people involved, I am grateful that this was a largely peaceful event,” Wheeler said. “Police did an exemplary job of de-escalating the situation, keeping the extremists on both sides separate for the most part, and of limiting interactions between individuals.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was not as impressed with the demonstration.
“In Hong Kong,” he tweeted, “antifascists wave American flags, demand freedom, and actually fight fascists. In Portland, ‘antifascists’ burn American flags, demand violence in the name of socialism. Portland is a sad showing of where we are today.”
Antifa may have done little over the weekend to earn a title of “terrorist organization,” but this was not their first rodeo…nor will it be their last. This is a group that has, as Crenshaw notes, so demonized the structures of American society that it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed. Already, we’ve seen these thugs hurl bottles at police, smash innocent journalists with their fists, and riot to the point of fires and destruction. The Antifa member who tried to firebomb an ICE detention center undoubtedly had mortal violence on his mind; it was only quick police action and the man’s relative incompetence that kept things from getting worse.
The feds need all the tools necessary to keep tabs on this malignant organization, and it would be good if they had those tools in place before it’s too late.