Barr Accuses Protesters of 'Fascistic' Tactics. They Said Same About Feds

For weeks, the Trump administration has been accused of using "fascist tactics" in its deployment of federal officers to Portland, Oregon, to quell unrest in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Activists, lawmakers and state leaders have accused the government of using authoritarian force, with Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley telling Newsweek last month that President Donald Trump had brought "fascist tactics to America."

Yet, during an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr leveled the same accusation against protesters, appearing to accuse members of antifa, a political protest movement with a name that is literally short for "anti-fascist," of using "fascistic tactics" themselves.

Speaking with host Mark Levin on the Life, Liberty & Levin show, Barr claimed that America was facing a "new form of urban guerrilla warfare" fueled by a "lust for power" from the left. The attorney general made the comments after he was asked for his thoughts on antifa.

However, in his question, Levin also appeared to bring Black Lives Matter activists into the discussion, saying: "In the United States, antifa's immediate aim is to bring about the demise of the Trump administration. It's an attack on capitalism, they say they're attacking fascism when they're Marxist fascists."

The Fox host then said: "It's interesting that one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter said that one of her focuses is to bring down the Trump administration," before asking: "What is it about the Trump administration that stands in their way?"

Appearing to focus specifically on antifa, Barr said he believed the group would generally be "for bringing down any administration."

"They are a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism communism," he said. "They're essentially Bolsheviks, their tactics are fascistic."

The attorney general later invoked the words of Mao Tse-Tung [Zedong], the former chairman of the People's Republic of China, to accuse Antifa members of exploiting protests to "provoke violence."

"It's a new form of urban guerrilla warfare," he said. "Mao Tse-Tung used to speak about the guerrilla being like fish swimming in the ocean, the way the guerrilla moves through the people. The guerrilla hides out among the people as a fish in the ocean.

"And what they do is, they are essentially shielding themselves, or shrouding themselves in First Amendment activity. And they go in to the demonstrations, which are exercising First Amendment activity, and they insinuate themselves in there to shield themselves, that's where they swim. And what they do is, they highjack these demonstrations and they provoke violence and they have various tiers of people from the sort of top provocateurs, down through people who are their minions and sort of run the violent missions.

"But it's a difficult phenomenon to deal with. They're highly organized at these demonstrations. And these tactics that they use are designed," Barr said.

The attorney general then accused the media of being complicit by refusing to "take footage of what's happening."

"They don't take the footage of the rocks being thrown," Barr said.

The attorney general said he believed Antifa's actions have been part of a "resistance" formed against Trump since the day he won the 2016 election.

"From that point forward, there's been the resistance. They were trying to impeach him from day one. They have done everything they can. They've shredded the norms of our system to do what they can to drive him from office or to debilitate his administration," Barr said. "And I think it's because of the desire for power, that the left wants power because that is essentially their state of grace and their secular religion.

"They want to run people's lives so they can design utopia for all of us. And that's what turns them on. And it's the lust for power. And they weren't expecting Trump's victory, and it outrages them," he said.

Bill Barr
Attorney General William Barr listens during an event in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on August 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Barr has accused Antifa of 'fascistic tactics'. Drew Angerer/Getty