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US election 2020: Trump and the rise of white supremacist extremism

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  • This episode first aired on Today in Focus, the Guardian’s global daily news podcast

In May 2017, Demetria Hester was on her way home from work on a train in Portland, Oregon, when Jeremy Christian, an avowed white supremacist, boarded and began shouting racist abuse. She says she told him to shut up. When they had got off the train, he threw a bottle that struck her in the face. The next day he killed two men and grievously injured a third. Demetria describes to Anushka Asthana how she felt the police responded to the incident that night and how she watched her attacker walk away without being questioned.

Earlier this year, a court in Portland found Jeremy Christian guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree attempted murder, and sentenced him to life without parole. But as the Guardian’s Lois Beckett tells Anushka, this is the extreme end of an ideology that has permeated all parts of US society, and one that President Trump has repeatedly refused to condemn.

As Americans go to the polls this week, they must assess the record of a president who has professed to be the “least racist person”. His own Department of Homeland Security describes white supremacists as posing the most persistent and lethal terror threat in the country.

Demonstrators protest against hate, white supremacy groups and US President Donald Trump on Sunday, August 13, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. 
Protesters were responding to violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia after 3 people were killed and several injured.
  / AFP PHOTO / Joshua LottJOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images



Photograph: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images

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