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Congressman Cleaver Calls on Secretaries of Treasury, State, and the Attorney General to Designate El Paso Shooter As a Terrorist, Develop List of Potential White Nationalist Terrorists

Aug 12, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr calling for the Department of Treasury and Department of State to designate the El Paso shooter as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” consistent with Executive Order 13224, and to develop a list of other potential white nationalist individuals or organizations to prevent future attacks.

“This President has taken the smoldering ember of white nationalism, doused it with rhetorical gasoline, and watched it spread like wildfire,” said Congressman Cleaver. “White nationalists time and time again have used the exact language of this President to condone their violence against immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities. If the President truly wants to stamp out these extremists, then I call on him and his administration to label these white supremacist groups, investigate them, and name the El Paso shooter exactly what he is: a terrorist.”

Far-right extremism in the United States has been on the rise in recent years, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), stating in a November, 2018 report that “the number of terrorist attacks by far-right perpetrators rose over the past decade, more than quadrupling between 2016 and 2017.” Just last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned the Senate Judiciary Committee that the majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by white supremacist violence, and stated that the FBI has arrested roughly the same number of domestic terror suspects as international terror suspects. Sadly, the Trump administration has systematically worked to decrease funding for government programs focused on rooting out homegrown terrorism, including eliminating funding for a federal program to support locally led efforts to counter all forms of violent extremism and slashing the funding and staff for the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force.

Reports following the massacre in El Paso stated that the shooter drove roughly 10 hours from a Dallas suburb to the largely Hispanic city of El Paso. Reports also claim the shooter had posted a hate-filled, anti-immigrant document to the far-right extremist online message board, 8chan, minutes before slaughtering 22 individuals. In the posting were lines warning of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and the myth that white people were being replaced by foreigners. This language is consistent with the verbiage used by the Christchurch, Pittsburgh, and other white supremacist shooters.

“The growing threat of white nationalist violent extremism can no longer be ignored. As the leader of the nation and all Americans, it is incumbent on the President to protect Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and other minorities from white nationalists. By formally labeling this individual a terrorist, it allows the Treasury, State, and Justice Departments to use the full set of tools at their disposal to attack this problem head on, which is exactly what this President should be doing,” said Congressman Cleaver.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matthew Helfant at 202-225-4535 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.