Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy along with 23 of his colleagues in the Senate sent a letter to Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, following the deadly attack in Charlottesville.
The letter addressed questions arising from the Trump Administration’s apparent de-emphasis on protecting Americans from domestic terrorism, especially the Administration’s apparent decision to de-emphasize combating far-right extremism, according to a statement from Senator Leahy’s office.
Senator Leahy is joined by New York Senator Chuck Schumer in signing the letter.
In it, Senators wrote: “The alleged attack that killed one innocent person and injured at least 19 others in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend was seemingly not just an ugly display of racist violence, it was likely also an incident of domestic terrorism. Yet as our nation confronts the problem of growing racial, religious and even political hatred, we are concerned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may not be adequately addressing one of the most significant threats of domestic terrorism.”
The senators noted the Trump Administration revoked DHS funding to Life After Hate, an organization devoted to the rehabilitation of former neo-Nazis and other extremists.
The letter continues, “Several new grantees were added, but it now appears the focus on far-right extremism has been significantly reduced, if not completely eliminated.”
Senators asked DHS to explain its decision and to clarify reports that Trump transition team aide Katharine Gorka “may have played a role in the decisions about which groups would and would not receive [Countering Violent Extremism] grants.”
You can read the full letter below: