Kenosha shooter is the domestic terrorist Trump's DHS detractor warned of: John Heilemann
John Heilemann (MSNBC)

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace noted that former assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy in the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, Elizabeth Neumann, abandoned her support for President Donald Trump in a Republican Voters Against Trump video this week. And in an interview with Wallace on Wednesday, she warned that she and other staff witnessed the dramatic increase in white supremacist activity at the Department of Homeland Security.


"Over the period of 2017 to 2018, we started to see that rise of white supremacists agenda. I and my leadership at the Department of Homeland Security were clear we found the ideology behind white nationalism to be a growing threat," Neumann recalled in the RVAT video. "A very common refrain I was asked was, 'Does the president's rhetoric make your job harder?' The answer is yes. The president's actions and his language are racist. Things like 'fine people on both sides' or 'send them back to where they came from.' Those words gave permission to white supremacists to think that what they were doing was permissible. I do think that the president's divisive language is indirectly tied to some of the attacks we have seen in the last two years."

John Heilemann explained that what was leaked of the president's speech at the final night of the Republican Convention is a shaming of the "unrest in Portland, Seattle, Chicago and Kenosha," which is just another way of saying Democratic cities are out of control.

There won't be "any direct addressing of what we saw on video this week," he anticipated. "We're four days into this convention. Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times on Monday. Donald Trump has not said his name in four days. Donald Trump has only talked about Kenosha and the context yesterday of sending a tweet out that said, 'We're going to send federal forces in to get control of the city of Kenosha,' in the context of the shootings that took place there. We now have a suspect in those shootings. We have a 17-year-old white kid. There's video of that kid at a Donald Trump rally in the front row in Iowa on January 30th. That kid with a long gun who lives in Illinois, traveled up to Kenosha to get in the middle of this."

He explained that the shooter is all over social media promoting "blue lives" and Trump's values.

"That kid, that white 17-year-old kid who went up there, who is a domestic terrorist, is exactly what this former Trump administration official says is making our job harder," said Heilemann. "Yes, he's giving permission to domestic terrorists. I don't know this 17-year-old kid, but you look at his social media and his profile, he looks like a white supremacist. If he's not an out front, straight-up, white supremacist, then at the very least he is a terrorist. Anybody who leaves their home drives to another state and shoots two people on the street meets the legal definition of terrorism."

He attacked Trump's silence on the issue as another version of the permission structure that allows the rage and hate to take root and act with impunity.

"Again, I withhold judgment. We have not heard the president speak tonight, but so far we're four days into this and what the president said and what he hasn't said is exactly the problem and gives exactly the kind of implicit racially, incendiary message that allows this violence to take place and encourages it," he closed. "And what that woman and many other people who have watched him over the last four years have pointed to as the problem."

See the full commentary below: