Trump considering labeling antifa a terrorist organization

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE declared Saturday he is considering labeling the militant anti-fascist movement antifa a terrorist organization. 

“Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others),” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Would make it easier for police to do their job!” 

The announcement is red meat to the president’s conservative base that has railed against what it sees as a growing liberal threat to its free speech led by antifa.

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The anti-fascist movement has gained notoriety as supporters donning black costumes have engaged conservative activists in confrontations that have sometimes devolved into violent clashes.

Antifa most recently drew headlines after conservative journalist Andy Ngo was bloodied during a confrontation with militant protesters in Portland, Ore. 

Trump’s announcement comes just days after GOP Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act MORE (La.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Money: Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections | 2M more Americans file new jobless claims, pushing total past 40M | White House to forgo summer economic forecast amid COVID-19, breaking precedent Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death MORE (Texas) introduced a nonbinding resolution that would label antifa activists as “domestic terrorists.”

“Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.” 

The designation allows law enforcement to examine suspects’ known associations and affiliations. 

Though conservatives and centrists have said the group is dangerous at worst and unhelpful at best, critics of labeling the group a terrorist organization say the move could lead to overly broad enforcement.

“It is dangerous and overly broad to use labels that are disconnected [from] actual individual conduct,” Hina Shamsi, director of the national security project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Washington Post this week. “And as we’ve seen how ‘terrorism’ has been used already in this country, any such scheme raises significant due process, equal protection and First Amendment constitutional concerns.”