In Sarasota, Fla., someone pulled a 75-year-old gay man from his car and beat him, saying: “You know my new president says we can kill all you f------ now.” In San Antonio, a man told an Asian girl: “When they see your eyes, you are going to be deported.” A teacher in Wesley Chapel, Fla., told black students: “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 “hate incidents” in the 10 days after Donald Trump was elected president, more than 300 of which included direct references to the president-elect or his campaign rhetoric. The incidents — documented in the media or reported through a form on the center’s website — included vandalism of places of worship, attacks on Muslim women in headscarves and bullying of Hispanic students in schools.
The center also counted 23 incidents it classified as “anti-Trump,” including one in which someone grabbed a man wearing a Trump hat by the neck on a subway in New York.
Ethnic intimidation and hate crimes are hardly new. Because the center only began tracking incidents after the election, it is impossible to determine whether Trump’s candidacy and election coincided with a rise in incidents. But Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said many of those who reported being harassed or targeted said they were shocked because they had never experienced anything like it, leading him and others to conclude that the divisive campaign has emboldened harassers.
“We’re seeing something new in its intensity and ferocity,” Cohen said.
In releasing the new report Tuesday — “Ten Days After” — the center and other civil rights organizations assailed Trump, accusing him of inspiring acts of violence and harassment and of being too tepid in his condemnation of those behind them. They cited what they think is a rise in acts of hate primarily targeting women, minorities and immigrants.
Trump said in a “60 Minutes” interview that news of Muslims and Hispanics being harassed saddened him.
“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, because I’m gonna bring this country together,” Trump said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”
Trump’s transition team released a statement late Tuesday, saying that Trump denounces racism of any kind and vows to be a leader for every American.
“To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds,” the statement said. “For anyone to conclude these senseless acts are the result of the election is disappointing and gives an excuse for their appalling behavior.”
Civil rights leaders have called on Trump to apologize to groups that have been targeted, including the Muslim community in Jersey City, where Trump falsely claimed Muslims celebrated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“What he hasn’t done is acknowledge that his own words have sparked this barrage of hate that we’re seeing,” Cohen said Tuesday. “Instead of pretending to be surprised by the pervasive hate that has infected our country, Mr. Trump needs to take responsibility for it and repair the damage that he caused.”
Leaders also called on Trump to rescind some of his political appointments, which they say signal that bigotry will follow him to the White House.
Some of his selections “indicate that the bigoted and divisive rhetoric that we saw in the campaign will continue as a matter of policy and practice in the White House,” said Brenda F. Abdelall of Muslim Advocates. “If President-elect Trump wants to bring America together and be a leader for all Americans, he will need to disavow the dangerous proposals and ideas that single out and demonize Muslims and other communities.”
Abdelall said that the FBI documented a 67 percent rise in hate crimes against Muslims between 2014 and 2015 and that her organization, which has been tracking hate crimes, suspects that number will rise again in 2016.
The center also surveyed educators in the wake of the election, and many reported elevated levels of anxiety among students, particularly immigrants who are concerned about what Trump’s election means for them and their families. They also reported bullying in which students repurposed campaign rhetoric to harass their classmates, including telling Hispanic students they were going to be deported. Others have taken Trump’s words captured in a 2005 videotape as license to assault girls.
“I have had one male student grab a female student’s crotch and tell her that it’s legal for him to do that now to her,” said an elementary school teacher in Minnesota.