Reported Hate Crimes Increase in Counties Where Trump Rallied in 2016

A new study shows that counties where President Donald Trump rallied during his campaign in 2016 have seen a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes, according to the Washington Post.

During an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Senator Tim Kaine claimed that Trump’s rhetoric surrounding white nationalism has emboldened those like the man who killed at least 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand. When asked if he believed “white nationalism is a rising threat around the world,” Trump responded, “I don’t really.”

While Trump has denied that he’s at all to blame, new research shows that his rhetoric may encourage hate crimes.

The study, conducted by University of North Texas professors Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers as well as Ayal Feinberg, examined the correlation between counties that hosted a Trump campaign rally in 2016 and the number of hate crimes that were reported afterwards, looking at data from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism Terrorism (HEAT) map.  Reported hate crimes in these counties saw a 226 percent increase compared to those that didn’t host a rally.

While the authors of the study “cannot be certain” Trump’s rhetoric caused such an increase, the results strongly indicate a correlational relationship. They also said that it’s hard to discount the effect Trump had on these crimes when a number of them, including instances of vandalism, intimidation, and assault, referenced him. Research from another study found that reading or hearing statements Trump has made against particular groups of people make people more likely to write offensive things about said groups.

The authors also debunked possible claims that these newer reports of hate crimes were faked.

“This charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes,” the analysis of the study says. “Research shows it is far more likely that hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.”

Data from the FBI shows that reported hate crimes increased 17 percent from 2016 to 2017. According to the ADL, there were 3,787 incidents of extremism or anti-Semitism in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018.