Trump considering labeling antifa a terrorist organization

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump 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 CassidyI'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Washington takes historic step forward on paid parental leave The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (La.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges 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.”