Klobuchar unveils plan to counter hate crimes in wake of mass shootings

Klobuchar unveils plan to counter hate crimes in wake of mass shootings
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Klobuchar lauds power of free press in post about her father The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says House will move forward with impeachment MORE (D-Minn.) says she’d work with law enforcement and local communities to prioritize fighting white nationalism and domestic terrorism in a new plan the 2020 presidential candidate released in the wake of last weekend's two mass shootings, which killed 31 people. 

The senator released her plan to combat the threat of white supremacist violence on Thursday in a Medium post published by her 2020 campaign. 

“The events of the last week have served as a disturbing reminder that hate crimes are on the rise in our country,” Klobuchar said in an emailed statement to Vox.

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“As president, I will end the hateful rhetoric that has become all too routine during the Trump administration and make combating domestic terrorism and hate-motivated violence a priority,” she continued. 

Among Klobuchar’s goals outlined in the initiative is a plan to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “resume its work tracking right wing extremism, including white nationalism.” 

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan told CBS on Tuesday the department is “responding aggressively,” but currently lacks the necessary resources to fight white supremacy.

Klobuchar’s campaign said she would also require federal law enforcement agencies to “regularly assess the threat of domestic terrorism” as well as increase training and resources for state and local law enforcement. 

Klobuchar would also make lynching a federal hate crime. 

Her plan includes initiatives to work with communities to combat the threat of violent hate crimes, and a better coordination of efforts to help address “the root causes of domestic terrorism.”

She would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Commerce to assess how current forms of communications are spreading hate. Her plan also calls for fully staffing and funding the DOJ's Community Relations Service, which provides communities facing racial and other conflict with services.

Federal authorities are treating the shooting in El Paso, Texas, as a case of domestic terrorism and plan to pursue federal hate crime and firearm charges. 

Twenty-two people were killed in the shooting in Texas on Saturday. A day later, nine people were killed in a separate shooting in Dayton, Ohio. 

The accused gunman in the El Paso shooting is alleged to have written a manifesto ahead of the attack, calling it “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” 

Democrats have likened the language in the alleged manifesto to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE’s past remarks. 

Trump defended himself against the accusations that his immigration rhetoric, in which he often warns of so-called invasions, inspired the suspected shooter. 

“I think my rhetoric brings people together. Our country is doing really well,” he said. 

He also said the nation must condemn "bigotry, hatred and white supremacy,” in remarks delivered at the White House Monday after the shootings. 

“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” he said.