Donald Trump has run a nonstop campaign of white fear ever since the beginning of his first presidential campaign. Now, new research indicates that, for some strange reason, hate crimes are off the charts in the places where Trump campaigned for president in 2016.
Three researchers at the University of North Texas have a new piece out in the Washington Post explaining the results of a study on this. Using an Anti-Defamation League map of hate crimes, the researchers found that in the American counties which hosted one of Trump’s 275 campaign rallies in 2016, there was a “226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.”
While the researchers—professors Valerie Martinez-Ebers and Regina Branton, and doctoral candidate Ayal Feinberg—stress that they can’t pinpoint Trump’s campaign rhetoric as the root cause of this, the numbers correlate with a nationwide spike in hate crimes since 2016. The authors cite a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes nationwide from 2016 to 2017, Trump’s first year in office, which marked the third consecutive year they rose. And according to FBI hate crime statistics from 2017, there were over 900 incidents of alleged anti-Jewish hate crimes that year, as well as 273 incidents of alleged anti-Muslim hate crimes, over 1,000 incidents of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, and over 2,000 incidents of anti-black hate crimes.
While conservative outlets like the Daily Caller and the New York Post jumped on the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago as proof of a nefarious trend of hoax hate crimes, the researchers note that it’s much more likely that hate crimes are underreported—meaning the 226 percent number could very well be the low end.
Trump, for his part, has repeatedly downplayed the effect that the president of the United States being an unrepentant bigot has had on society at large. After last week’s attacks on mosques in New Zealand in which an avowed white supremacist murdered 50 Muslims, Trump said that he didn’t think white nationalism was a growing problem around the world. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” he said.