NAACP president accuses Trump of having operated under ‘white supremacist doctrine’
NAACP President Derrick Johnson is keeping the pressure on former President Trump after the preeminent civil rights group along with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) filed a lawsuit against Trump last week, alleging that he incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in violation of federal statute.
“We could not stand by and not pursue a course of action to hold those accountable for their treasonous acts,” Johnson told The Guardian in an interview, adding that Trump’s actions revolved around a “white supremacist doctrine that was a derived from days of the Confederacy.”
Johnson had previously told The Hill that holding the perpetrators of the riot accountable was paramount to moving forward as a country.
“If you try to move forward without holding people accountable, you only set yourself up [for] future activity that could possibly be successful in toppling our democracy,” Johnson said. “For African Americans, we see a long history of people not being held accountable … and if we don’t hold people accountable, there becomes this entitlement that it’s OK to cause harm and violate the law.”
The complaint argues that Trump broke what is commonly referred to as the Ku Klux Klan Act — a Reconstruction-era law passed aimed at slowing the violence against and intimidation of Black Americans at the hands of the white hate group following the Civil War.
While many parts of the 1871 bill have become obsolete, multiple provisions became codified as federal statutes.
In particular, the U.S. Code listed in the lawsuit, 42 U.S.C. 1985(1), was put in place to shield against conspiracies meant “to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office.”
Trump spokesperson Jason Miller said after the lawsuit was announced that “President Trump has been acquitted in the Democrats’ latest Impeachment Witch Hunt, and the facts are irrefutable.”
“President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser must answer questions as to why they rejected additional security and National Guard assistance in the run-up to Jan. 6th.”
Close Trump ally and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani as well as two white extremist groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, are also listed in the lawsuit.
Trump, now a private citizen, faces a considerable docket of lawsuits in addition to last week’s filing.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which extensively tracks data on hate group activity, noted in its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report that it saw “historically high hate group numbers” in the first three years of Trump’s presidency.
“Trump, of course, acts as a partial explanation,” the civil rights group stated. “He undoubtedly emboldened the far right and, importantly, created heightened expectations.”
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