The growing threat of right-wing extremism 

Pro-Trump rioters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police
Pro-Trump rioters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.
Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP file

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin that warned of the potential for lingering violence following the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The announcement didn’t cite any specific plots, but pointed to a “heightened threat environment across the United States.”

According to national security officials, it’s the latest evidence that episodes of violence executed by white nationalist and far-right extremist groups are connected — and growing. Late last year, security and terrorism officials warned that the widespread embrace of conspiracy theories and disinformation amounts to a “mass radicalization” of Americans and increases the risk of right-wing violence.

So what’s next? And why are we only taking this threat seriously now? Tuesday, MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two experts intimately acquainted with the danger posted by far-right extremism.

Guests:

  • Kurt Braddock is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University and a faculty fellow in the university’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Laboratory.

  • Elizabeth Neumann served in the Trump administration as senior adviser and deputy chief of staff for the Department of Homeland Security. Currently, she is a director for the Republican Accountability Project.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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