White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany evidently wants to use “antifa” as an excuse for the abject leadership failures of her boss, President Donald Trump. The United States has been gripped by intense demonstrations around the country in the wake of the police murder of black man George Floyd, but Trump has been almost nowhere to be found outside of his endless stream of incendiary tweets. On Sunday, Trump never even appeared in front of a camera. During an appearance on Fox & Friends this week, McEnany excused that with the claim that no Oval Office address would be useful against “antifa,” but her premise that the U.S. is engaged in some kind of apocalyptic struggle with “antifa” is ridiculous. “Antifa” isn’t even a centralized organization.
She complained to the Fox hosts:
‘This president has been very clear that we need law and order in this country. He’s taken extraordinary action, talking about activating the National Guard as we saw happen in Minnesota, criminalizing interstate travel that is geared towards inciting violence, making sure that those individuals are prosecuted, labeling Antifa as a domestic terrorist entity.’
It is true that he claimed that he was going to label Antifa as a domestic terrorism organization. It’s also true that his claim to that effect has little relationship to reality, because again, Antifa is not a centralized organization. The word is short for “anti-fascist” and is taken on as a moniker by some activists on the left. There’s not even any legislation under which the president could declare “Antifa” to be a terrorist group. Not even the KKK ever got that designation — although that doesn’t mean that the federal government couldn’t still clamp down on activists through other means anyway.
Asked about the possibility of the president giving an address to the nation, McEnany continued:
‘The president has addressed this repeatedly. The first day he saw this video he addressed the horrific death of George Floyd. He’s addressed the issue of law and order in our streets. But here’s the thing, Ainsley, a national Oval Office address is not going to stop Antifa. What’s going to stop Antifa is action. And this president is committed to acting on this.’
There is no “Antifa” — at least not in the sense that the Trump administration uses the term, referring to some secretive national organization. Watch her comments below:
The Trump administration seems committed to waging a nonsense culture war even while actual struggles against police brutality unfold literally right outside their doorstep — D.C. has seen intense protests night-after-night for days on end, and over the weekend, Trump even temporarily moved into the White House bunker that officials like Vice President Dick Cheney used on the occasion of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, Trump just keeps uselessly tweeting. On Sunday evening, for instance, he tweeted:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
And shortly before that, he added:
‘LAW & ORDER!’
LAW & ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
What does any of that mean? Who knows. The best idea from the current president of the United States consists of sitting isolated in the White House and tweeting random all-caps messages while the U.S. reels in anguish.