“Five years and four days after armed militiamen took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, a remote federal wildlife preserve in eastern Oregon, for 41 days, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed and briefly occupied the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.
While the Trump era has empowered anti-government extremists in new and dangerous ways, it has offered some relief to the public-land employees in the West who often bear the brunt of extremist ideologies. Data collected by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a group that supports public-land reforms and agency employees, found that threats against federal employees and facilities dropped precipitously following Trump’s election. In 2017, the BLM recorded a 25% reduction in such incidents, the lowest number since 1995. The Bundys didn’t see the federal government under the Trump administration as the enemy, said Jeff Ruch, the former executive director and current Pacific director of PEER. “The administration acted in concert with the violent movement’s demands,” he said.”