Politics

Elizabeth Warren ties guns, Trump and domestic terrorism together in her plan to fight white nationalism

Key Points
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, ties together guns, President Donald Trump's rhetoric and domestic terrorism in a plan to fight white nationalism.
  • Warren, in her announcement of the plan, accused Trump of making racist comments and employing people she labels as white nationalists, specifically immigration hard-liner and top White House advisor Stephen Miller.
  • Warren calls for taking investigations out of the hands of state and local jurisdictions and shifting all hate crime referrals to the FBI, among other initiatives.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren appears on stage at a First in the West Event at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., November 17, 2019
Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, tied together guns, President Donald Trump's rhetoric and domestic terrorism in a plan, released Tuesday, to fight white nationalism.

Warren, in her announcement of the plan, accused Trump of making racist comments and employing people she labels as white nationalists, specifically immigration hard-liner and top White House advisor Stephen Miller.

The Trump administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC. Trump has repeatedly denied that he is a racist.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit activist organization that monitors hate groups, last week published hundreds of emails from Miller encouraging the right-wing news site Breitbart to push white nationalist talking points in articles during the 2016 presidential campaign. The SPLC said it reached out to the White House multiple times to get a comment from Miller, but didn't get a reply.

Here's are the Warren plan's key points:

  • Taking investigations out of the hands of state and local jurisdictions and shifting all hate crime referrals to the FBI.
  • Directing federal prosecutors to seek tougher penalties for individuals who commit hate crimes "regardless of their race, ethnicity, or supposed ideology."
  • Expanding background checks for gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the hands of those already prone to violence.

Warren explained her plan in a Twitter thread, citing multiple shootings that occurred in religious buildings and were motivated by prejudice against specific groups of people.

Warren argues that students must be given adequate support in the classroom to recognize white nationalism and learn tolerance. The plan also amplifies Warren's earlier call to include a professional counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker in every school to support students and educate them about bias-motivated violence.

She also takes another shot at Big Tech, arguing that its power must be reduced to improve privacy and security and limit the amount of extremist content circulated online among teenagers. Warren has previously called for giant technology companies such as Facebook and Amazon to be broken up.

Warren also promises to require the Pentagon to conduct more stringent background checks on military recruits, with the goal of reducing white nationalist or racist ideology within the ranks.

The plan also outlines a multinational coordination effort to weed out instigators of white supremacy, promising that identified white nationalist groups will be added to the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Domestically, Warren says she wants to standardize the way hate crimes are reported across all police departments and law enforcement agencies in the United States. State and local governments will be required to submit reports of suspected hate crimes to the federal government, and the collected data will be presented using standardized metrics that will be available to the public.

Individual hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, according to a recent report released by the FBI.