President Biden told attendees Thursday at his summit to stamp out White supremacist violence not to be discouraged by those calling them “a bunch of wacko liberals.”
Mr. Biden delivered the keynote address at the “United We Stand” summit to highlight the administration’s response to hate “and put forward a shared vision for a more united America.”
“Unless we speak out, this is going to continue,” he said. “Folks, we cannot be intimidated by those who are talking about this as somehow, that we’re a bunch of wacko liberals who are engaged in this new [forum]. I mean, think about how it’s characterized.”
The summit builds on the administration’s push to root out racially motivated domestic extremists, for whom Mr. Biden blamed former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Biden, who has often cited the violence surrounding the 2017 White nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as spurring his 2020 run for president, has made fighting far-right extremism a priority for his administration.
“Too much hate has fueled extremist violence has been allowed to fester and grow,” Mr. Biden said. “As a result, our very own intelligence agencies, in the United States of America, have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in White supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to our homeland today.”
Critics say Mr. Biden’s efforts have done little to unite the country, and many within the GOP warn that the country is becoming further divided under his administration.
Current and former FBI agents tell The Washington Times that the threat from domestic violent extremists has been overblown by the administration. They say bureau analysts and top officials are pressuring FBI agents to create domestic-terrorism cases and tag people as White supremacists to meet internal metrics.
“The demand for White supremacy” coming from FBI headquarters “vastly outstrips the supply of White supremacy,” said one agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We have more people assigned to investigate White supremacists than we can actually find.”
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said several whistleblowers have come forward with similar accusations that the FBI has pressured agents to open cases to fulfill the Biden administration’s crusade against homegrown terrorism.
“I think [it is] what’s ultimately driving his politics,” Mr. Jordan said. “If you own a gun, display the flag and voted for Trump, the president’s going to call you an extremist, and it appears the FBI is going to use the numbers to satisfy that narrative that the president laid out.”
Others say the concern about the rise of extremism and White supremacist ideology is far from unfounded.
Those backing the White House summit cite nationwide hate crime data showing a rise in racially motivated attacks in recent years and recent mass shootings motived by racial animus, including a White supremacist’s targeted killing of Black shoppers at a Buffalo grocery store in May.
Civil-rights leaders also cite a spike in racially motivated vandalism at places of worship, the Jan. 6 U.S. riot at the Capitol, and the ongoing push to overturn the 2020 election as evidence of a concerning rise in domestic extremism.
The lineup for the all-day event at the White House included federal, state and local officials along with civil-rights groups, business leaders, law-enforcement officials and former members of violent hate groups.
“We remain in the battle for the soul of the nation,” Mr. Biden said Thursday. “When I look around at all of you here today, I know we’ll win that battle. The power is within each of us to transform the story of our time, to rise together against hate, to show who we are.”
• Joseph Clark can be reached at email@example.com.
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