The Department of Homeland Security has inexplicably cut funds to a program intended to wean people off neo-Nazism.
Life After Hate had been scheduled to receive $400,000 during the final days of President Barack Obama's administration, according to a report by Politico. After President Donald Trump's administration decided to review a $10 million grant for the "Countering Violent Extremism" program, the Trump team decided to drop funding for Life After Hate.
It is unclear what the rationale was for doing so, since the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to Politico's inquiry for comment. That said, the organization's founder Christian Picciolini indicated that his group has received a 20-fold increase in requests for help since Election Day, suggesting that it needs funding more than ever.
According to its website, "Life After Hate, Inc., a 501(c)(3) U.S. nonprofit, was created in 2011 by former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement." Its goal is to help former members of neo-Nazi and other extreme right-wing groups move away from them.
Trump has a problematic record when it comes to hate groups. Despite clearly knowing who former Klan leader David Duke is, Trump denied that he knew him when asked about Duke's endorsement of Trump's presidential candidacy.
"I don’t know anything about him," Trump claimed. "Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.”
Studies have found that racism, more than economic considerations or authoritarian tendencies, played a crucial role in Trump's election victory in 2016.