Southern Poverty Law Center President and CEO Margaret Huang speaks to journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., today about the rising hate and far-right extremism in the country and how it not only leads to violence but extremist policies as well.
The “Virtual Newsmaker” event, scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, can be viewed live here.
“We’re facing a crisis of far-right extremism and deep threats to our democracy,” Huang says in prepared remarks. “We all saw it on January 6 when the pro-Trump mob – led by white supremacists and other far-right extremists – rampaged through the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes.”
But the threat of domestic terrorism and hate crime is just one of the dangers of this extremism.
“As we have been warning for years, racism and extremism is being mainstreamed – infiltrating our politics, our media, our democratic institutions and, importantly, our public policy.”
This extremism was evident throughout the Trump years, when many key players in the administration had ties to extremist groups and where the president himself was a prolific promoter of far-right conspiracy theories and racist tropes.
“We saw it in the election last November of a QAnon believer to the U.S. Congress in Georgia,” Huang says. “And we see it in the radical, right-wing attack on voting rights in many states – particularly in Georgia, where Republicans passed a harsh voter suppression law after their party lost the presidential election and two U.S. Senate seats because of an historic voter turnout, particularly by Black voters.”
Huang also addresses the monetization of hate – the practice of extremists and hate groups raising millions of dollars online through crowdfunding and the distribution of propaganda, including livestreams of the Capitol invasion.
“The insurrection at the Capitol was a wake-up call to our nation. We cannot afford to ignore it – because the extremist ideologies and conspiracy theories that fueled the attack aren’t going away anytime soon.”
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