Democratic Rep. Debra Haaland (N.M.) called Antifa a group of "peaceful protesters" that is "working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism" during an appearance on CNN Saturday. Police arrested at least 13 individuals during the protests and counter-protests between far-right activists and "anti-fascist" demonstrators in Portland, Ore. according to reports.
CNN host Ana Cabrera read a tweet from President Donald Trump posted Saturday in which he called for Antifa to be labeled a terrorist group.
"Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an "ORGANIZATION OF TERROR." Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!" Trump tweeted.
"I do want to note, the U.S. does not have a domestic terrorism law. No government agency designates groups as being domestic terrorism organizations. What's your reaction to that tweet?" Cabrera asked Haaland.
"This is on par with what the president does. He sides with the white supremacists, he sides with the white nationalists, with the domestic terrorists in our country," Haaland said. "He's incited violence against people of color. Portland is a progressive city. They want to ensure that they keep their city moving forward."
"It's not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism. Just not surprised at all that the president sides with the white nationalists," Haaland continued. "That's been his mode of operation since before he was elected president."
Political violence has drawn increased media attention over the past three years, with yesterday's clash in Portland being one of many tense encounters between extremist activists.
Antifa made headlines earlier this summer when journalist Andy Ngo was violently assaulted at a rally, resulting in Ngo's hospitalization with brain bleeding. In 2016, clashes between Trump supporters and "anti-fascist" groups across California resulted in arrests and property damage.
This August marked the two-year anniversary of the death of Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville during a violent rally of white supremacist groups and neo-Nazi groups. Studies have indicated that extremist white nationalist violence is increasing in the form of mass shootings and other hate crimes.