Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf offered a harsh evaluation of the anarchist group Antifa Wednesday, declaring that in certain capacities, the left-wing group “absolutely” meets the standards worthy of condemnation as a “domestic terrorist group.”
“I think what we see with them individually targeting law enforcement, individually targeting certain officials for certain reasons, that is the definition of domestic terrorism,” Wolf told The Federalist, going on to explain, however, that the group’s decentralized nature makes it difficult for law enforcement to offer effective surveillance and widespread prosecution.
“The issue with Antifa,” Wolf explained, “it’s not just one singular group. It’s a loosely knit organization that’s very hard to define, very hard to define who’s a part of it.”
Wolf pointed to the FBI conducting several ongoing investigations into the group to greater understand its underpinnings. That could benefit law enforcement agencies nationwide grappling with intensifying violence as major U.S. cities suffer under a historic moment of civil unrest.
While Wolf, who was officially nominated Tuesday to fill the post he currently serves in an “acting” capacity, characterized Antifa as a domestic terrorist group in some cases, the DHS’s mission lies primarily with protecting federal agents and property. That includes Portland, where rioters held a federal courthouse under siege in skirmishes between militant anarchists firing mortar-style fireworks and the police defending government buildings. In July alone, Wolf told congressional lawmakers earlier this month, more than 100 federal law enforcement agents sustained 277 injuries in Portland, nearly half of which were eye injuries from lasers that can cause permanent blindness.
As the nation sees the beginning of a second wave of violent protests terrorizing its major cities in Kenosha and Minneapolis this week, Portland demonstrators surpassed their 90th day of consecutive domestic attacks Tuesday, three months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Legal records recently surfaced showing Floyd had overdose levels of Fentanyl in his blood when he died.
Wolf emphasized Wednesday that while the Trump administration is offering support to state and local law enforcement agencies being overrun by the inner-city mobs, it’s ultimately up to those state and local governments to restore public safety and keep the peace. In the meantime, Wolf said, “individuals have a right to protect themselves and their businesses and what they’ve worked all their life to build.”
“Fault lies with those local leaders and those local law enforcement of not doing their job,” said the acting secretary. “This country is about rule of law, and we need the police to step up any time we have criminal riots and looting occur. Law enforcement needs to step in, restore that rule of law so that private citizens don’t have to do this or that, you don’t have counter-protests that become violent. That only happens in the absence of rule of law.”