President Biden on Thursday doubled down on his administration’s assertion that white supremacy-inspired domestic terrorism is the greatest threat to America, announcing an initiative to combat “hate-fueled violence.”
During a theatrical summit titled “United We Stand,” themed to suggest that rightwing hate is rampant in the country, Biden said the White House is launching a new strategy to stop domestic terrorism, “prevent people from being mobilized to violence,” and “counter exploitation of the internet.”
He mentioned the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, when a rightwing activist plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters with his vehicle, killing a woman and wounding dozens more, as the reason he ultimately ran for president after he had no intention to do so. Last November, a Charlottesville jury ordered the organizers of the march to pay $25 million in damages to the victims, although it did not conclude that they were guilty of a federal conspiracy to orchestrate a racially-motivated attack.
Biden got a rise out of the audience by invoking former President Trump, who at the time of the incident commented that there were “very fine people on both sides.” Paraphrasing the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, Biden bemoaned that “we’ve never lived up to it but we’ve never walked away from it.”
Citing America’s legacy of violence against Native Americans, slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, prejudice and discrimination against Irish and Italian immigrants, anti-semitism, and religious bigotry, Biden insisted that “there’s a through-line of hate” in America.
The “first of its kind” conference, according to Biden, was created at the urging of civil rights groups after the Buffalo shooting earlier this year, in which the gunman open fired in a grocery store located in a black-concentrated community. He was charged with one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate, with the indictment claiming he acted “because of the perceived race and/or color of such person or persons” among the victims.
After the tragedy, mainstream media and Democrats attempted to implicate Republicans, suggesting that conservative ideology and institutions sparked and supported his murderous rampage. Rolling Stone published in a headline: “the Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican.” A Washington Post piece alleged that “conservative media is familiar with Buffalo suspect’s alleged ‘[great replacement]theory.’”
“Hate’s been allowed to fester and grow,” the president declared Thursday. “Our own intelligence agencies have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greater terrorist threat to our homeland today.”
Biden pivoted into the rise of gun violence across the country, assuring, “I’m not going to stop until we ban assault weapons.”