The federal government needs to fund the de-programming of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Friday night.
“The White supremacist cause is futile, it’s nihilist,” AOC, a Democrat who represents parts of The Bronx and Queens, said during a virtual town hall meeting Friday night.
“Their world will never exist. That’s why we’re seeing violence right now.,” she said, speaking in the wake of the violent siege on the US Capitol by radical supporters of President Trump.
“We have to pick up those pieces.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the House subcommittee on civil rights she serves on has held hearings over the prior two years on white supremacy and said there are programs to “de-radicalize” brain-washed adherents.
But she said funding was not a priority for those programs during the Trump years.
“There are people who are radicalized right now. It’s going to take a very long time to de-radicalize these people and a lot of effort,” she said.
“This is a problem that doesn’t go away on Jan. 20,” said the congresswoman, referring to when Trump leaves the White House and is succeeded by President-elect Joe Biden.
She said many fringe radicals operate in a “misinformation bubble” and it will take more than more than one conversation to de-program them, likening it to therapy.
But, she said, research has shown “healing is possible.”
“We need to double, triple or quadruple the funding for these programs,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
AOC said there is a spectrum of radicalization that ranges from sympathizers to conspiracy theorists, to Neo-Nazis. Such radical ideology could lead to violence and domestic terrorism.
She said the conspiracy theory wrongly pushed by Trump that the election was stolen from him radicalized his supporters who invaded the Capitol last week, leading to violence and the death of five people. AOC said she felt her life was threatened.
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