Some context from the article:
Branton, Martinez-Ebers, and Feinberg noted that their study “cannot be certain” that the marked increase was solely attributed to Trump’s rhetoric. But they also shut down the suggestion that the reported hate crimes were fake.
“In fact, this charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes,” the analysis said. “Research shows it is far more likely that hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.”
“Additionally, it is hard to discount a ‘Trump effect’ when a considerable number of these reported hate crimes reference Trump,” they continued. “According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and assault.”