Donald Trump’s name has been invoked in 17 criminal cases involving violence or threats of violence against minorities since the beginning of his political campaign, according to an investigation by ABC News.
These cases are unique in that most of them (16 out of 17) were in support of Trump’s rhetoric rather than opposing it. There were zero criminal cases which invoked the presidential rhetoric of Barack Obama or George W. Bush when they were president.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that his rhetoric deserves “no blame” for stoking the rising racial tensions in America. He has instead blamed the media’s critical reporting of his administration, or “fake news” as he brands it, for stoking “hatred” in America.
A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
ABC News noted that the real number is likely higher, given that they only counted cases where “police records, court proceedings, or other direct evidence presenting a definitive link to the president” were available. They also excluded attacks or threats where charges were never brought or Trump-inspired vandalism.
The full tally of the 17 criminal cases can be found below:
1. Boston, Massachusetts August 2015
Two white brothers beat a sleeping homeless man with Mexican heritage with a metal pole. They later told police that “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” Their victim was not in the country illegally.
They pled guilty to multiple assault-related charges and were sentenced to two years in prison.
2. State College, Pennsylvania, December 2015
A white male Penn State student threatened to “put a bullet” in a young Indian man. His attorney argued the threat of violence was out of “a love of country,” not “hate.” “Donald Trump is running for President of the United States saying that, ‘We’ve got to check people out more closely,'” the attorney said.
He pled guilty to ethnic intimidation and was sentenced to up to two years in prison.
3. White City, Oregon, April 2016
An elderly white male threatened federal officials and minorities with violence multiple times online, including then-President Barack Obama, and FBI found several pipe bombs and guns in his home in Oregon. “The establishment is trying to steal the election from Trump. … Obama is already on a kill list … Your [name] can be there too,” the man wrote on Facebook.
He pled guilty to possessing an unregistered explosive device and posting Internet threats against federal officials, and was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
4. Cleveland, Ohio, June 2016
An old white male attacked his African-American neighbors with a knife in Cleveland. “Donald Trump will fix them because they are scared of Donald Trump,” he later told police.
He pled guilty to ethnic intimidation and other charges, his sentence was not publicly available.
5. Olympia, Washington, August 2016
A white male attacked a kissing black man and white woman with a knife. He told police he was “a white supremacist” and said “he planned on heading down to the next Donald Trump rally and stomping out more of the Black Lives Matter group.”
He pled guilty to charges of assault and malicious harassment, and was sentenced to more than four years in prison.
6. Bordentown Township, New Jersey, September 2016
A police chief allegedly assaulted a handcuffed African-American teenager within hours of being caught on tape saying “Donald Trump is the last hope for white people.”
He’s been indicted on three charges, including a federal hate crime. He is pleading not guilty and awaiting trial.
7. Los Angeles, California, September 2016
A white male was arrested for sending threats of violence to a mosque’s Facebook page. His attorney argued he was “using similar language and expressing similar views” to “campaign statements from then-candidate Donald Trump… (my client’s) comments were directed toward a pressing issue of public concern that was a central theme of the Trump campaign and the 2016 election generally: the Islamic roots of many international and U.S. terrorist acts.”
He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sending harassing communications and was sentenced to probation.
8. Garden City, Kansas, October 2016
The FBI arrested three white men in Kansas for planning to bomb an apartment complex known to house many Somali immigrants. Their attorney argued the plan was “self-defensive” because they believed “that if Donald Trump won the election, President Obama would not recognize the validity of those results, that he would declare martial law, and that at that point militias all over the country would have to step in.”
After the men were convicted of conspiracy-related charges convicted, their attorneys argued that the political “climate” could incite people like their clients to “go to 11.” The men are awaiting sentencing.
9. Tampa, Florida, November 2016
A white man threatened to burn down a neighboring house because a Muslim family was moving in. The man later said Trump’s warnings about Muslim immigrants was “the match that lit the wick,” citing “The fact that the president wants these six countries vetted, everybody vetted before they come over, there’s a concern about Muslims.”
The man pled guilty to a federal civil rights violation, and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
10. Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 2016
A young white male attacked a cab driver while yelling the word “Trump” again and again.
He pled guilty to a charge of ethnic intimidation, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
11. Chicago, Illinois, January 2017
Four young African-Americans tied up a white, mentally disabled man and streamed themselves committing multiple acts of violence and forcing him to recite “Fuck Trump” and “Fuck white people.”
They pled guilty to committing a hate crime, and were sentenced to several years in prison.
12. Brooklyn, New York, January 2017
At JFK International Airport in New York, a female, hijab-wearing Delta employee was subjected to physical violence and verbal abuse by a white male “for no apparent reason,” prosecutors said. The man said “You did nothing, but … [Expletive] Islam. [Expletive] ISIS. Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you.”
He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “menacing,” and he was sentenced to probation.
13. Miami Gardens, Florida, February 2017
A black man called a Florida mosque and threatened to “shoot all y’all.” He later told police he “got angry” after watching Trump falsely claim Muslim refugees had executed a terrorist attack in Sweden. His attorney argued “There are courts considering President Trump’s travel ban … and the president himself has made some very pointed statements about what he thinks about people of this descent,” Carmon argued in court.
He pled guilty to obstructing the free exercise of his victims’ religious beliefs, and was sentenced to one year in prison.
14. Key West, Florida, February 2017
A white man ran shouted slurs at a biking gay couple in Florida and “intentionally” crashed his moped into their bikes, shouting “You live in Trump country now!”
He pled guilty to a charge of battery evidencing prejudice and was sentenced to four years of probation.
15. South Padre Island, Texas, May 2017
A white man was recorded harassing a Muslim family, repeatedly shouting, “Donald Trump will stop you!” and other Trump-related remarks.
He was arrested for public intoxication.
16. Encino, California, August 2018
An elderly white male sent the Boston Globe dozens of phone calls threatening violence after the outlet ran critical coverage of Trump’s “assault on journalism,” as the Globe called it. “You are the enemy of the people,” the alleged caller said. “As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States … I will continue to threat[en], harass, and annoy the Boston Globe.”
After being arrested, he told reporters at his hearing that “America was saved when Donald J. Trump was elected president.” He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
17. Broward County, Florida, October 2018
A white Florida male mailed at least 15 bombs to prominent critics of Trump. The man had lived in a van covered in aggressive pro-Trump stickers, and had posted many pro-Trump messages, racist memes, and conspiracy theories online. (Oct. 2018)
He’s been accused of “domestic terrorism” and has had several bomb and assault-related charges filed against him. He is pleading not guilty.
(Grit Post’s editorial policy is to not publish the names or likenesses of mass shooters or domestic terrorists, or name white supremacist organizations, in order to prevent them from attaining notoriety.)
Nathan Wellman is a Grit Post contributing editor in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW. You can also email him at info AT gritpost DOT com.