Trump’s first year sparks surge in hate groups: Report

WASHINGTON The number of hate groups across the United States surged during the first year of Mr Donald Trump's presidency, echoing his often incendiary stances on race, according to a new report published yesterday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's annual survey of extremist groups said the number of hate groups and their chapters rose by 4 per cent last year to 954, with Trump-inspired alt-right and white supremacist groups provoking a backlash from hardline African-American groups.

"President Trump's first year in office proved to be just as racially divisive as his campaign - but even more consequential," the SPLC said in its "The Year in Hate and Extremism" report.

In a year that saw them emerge more openly, including in an August 2017 rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazi groups surged in number, from 99 to 121, the report said, in part by recruiting college students.

Anti-Muslim groups also jumped to 114 chapters from 101 last year, after a tripling the year before, when Mr Trump marked his presidential campaign with a promise to close the country's doors to Muslims.