Story at a glance

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed domestic terrorism threats before a Senate committee.
  • Both concurred that white supremacy is a top threat in the U.S.
  • Multiple mass shootings in recent years have been attributed to white supremacy ideology.

The threat of white supremacy in the U.S. is far from diminished, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who also confirmed that white supremacy stands out among domestic terrorist organizations as a burgeoning threat.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Garland doubled down on his previous comments and agreed with fellow witness Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that white supremacy is “the most persistent threat in the homeland.”

Garland specifically referred to the rioters who broke into the U.S. Capitol building ahead of President Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 6.

“In my career...I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” he confirmed. He also cited a report from the U.S. FBI issued in March.

“The top domestic violence extremist threat we face comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” Garland added, reiterating the U.S. Department of Justice’s commitment to snuffing out these threats  and prosecuting violators. 

In the past few years, multiple mass shootings, ranging from the Walmart shooting in El Paso in 2019 to the church shooting in Charleston in 2015, were all associated with white supremacy ideology. 

Mayorkas followed up by adding that terrorist threats including violence rooted in white supremacy are often prompted by false narratives, conspiracy theories and rhetoric found on social media and Internet platforms. 

Garland also added that the relatively easy access to heavy weaponry makes domestic violence more likely. 

International data monitoring the U.S., U.K. and Germany suggests that violence linked to white supremacy has grown globally since at least 2010. 


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Published on May 12, 2021