Southern Poverty Law Center Says Trump Inspired Even More Hate Groups In 2017
Right-wing groups feel emboldened by Trump's tweets, according to the group.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. hate groups expanded last year under President Donald Trump, fueled by his immigration stance and the perception that he sympathized with those espousing white supremacy, the Southern Poverty Law Center said on Wednesday.
There were 954 hate groups in the country in 2017, marking a 4 percent increase over the previous year when the number rose 2.8 percent, the civil rights watchdog said in its annual census of such groups.
Since 2014, the number has jumped 20 percent, it said.
Among the more than 600 white supremacist groups, neo-Nazi organizations rose to 121 from 99. Anti-Muslim groups increased for a third year in a row, to 114 from 101 in 2016, the report said.
Last year brought “a substantial emboldening of the radical right, and that is largely due to the actions of President Trump, who’s tweeted out hate materials and made light of the threats to our society posed by hate groups,” Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, told reporters.