Donald Trump weaponized the bigotry and hatred at the shriveled heart of the Republican Party and used it to blast his way to the highest office in the world.
Under his reign, hate crimes have spiked, Nazis openly march through the streets, and Islamaphobic rhetoric has become mainstream. Today, the Supreme Court made the reprehensible decision to allow Trump’s Muslim ban, which he now calls a “travel ban,” to take full effect. Presidential words have consequences, and the paranoia he’s spewing is now driving people towards violent acts.
The Daily Beast reports that the FBI has announced that they’ve arrested a Jacksonville, Florida man who had an illegal suppressor and five rifles he planned to use to perpetrate a mass shooting at a mosque.
Bernandino Bolatete, the 69-year-old man in question, had expressed hatred of Muslims and discussed his fantasy of “shooting up” an Islamic place of worship. He also shared a fake news story about Muslim men raping a woman and forcing her to recite passages from the Quran entitled “EVIL: Radical Muslims Rape, Make Woman Quote Quran, But How They ‘Finish Her Off’ Is the Worst.”
Allegedly, Bolatete spoke to an undercover law enforcement officer without realizing it and told him/her that he was going to ascend to the top tower of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida and shoot down at Muslim worshippers. He also told the officer that he had already scouted the location and knew that he would carry out the shooting on a Friday, during a religious gathering.
“So we’ll try… we will try a Christian doing uh terroristic act this time to the Muslims. They doing it all the time,” Bolatete reportedly said to the officer, according to The Daily Beat. He added that he would die through suicide by cop.
This news provides a sobering reminder that Islamaphobia and paranoia can have real-world implications. The president recently retweeted a string of Anti-Muslim videos from a far-right European hatemonger, and that kind of behavior only further encourages dangerous and bigoted men like Bolatete. Trump is fostering an atmosphere of terror and stoking the deepest fears of his base.
Trump is quick to hop on Twitter to condemn terror attacks when he believes the perpetrator to be a Muslim, but on today’s news, he is conspicuously quiet. Since addressing a planned shooting on a mosque is politically inconvenient for him, he has decided not to address it at all, showing that he really only cares about inciting his supporters, not actually combatting terror across the board.
Click here to read the full FBI report.