Following a federal indictment of former President Donald J. Trump, his supporters called for violence and an uprising in his defense, upsetting observers and prompting him to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday. There is growing concern that a dangerous atmosphere will float in front of the
In social media posts and public statements, Trump’s closest allies (including lawmakers) have described the indictments as acts of war, called for retaliation, and said many of Trump’s bases had been disarmed. He emphasized the fact that he was with him. Allies paint Trump as a victim of a weaponized Justice Department controlled by President Biden, a potential opponent in the 2024 election.
The call to action and threats have been amplified on right-wing media sites, met with supportive reactions from social media users and cheers from crowds, but Trump and his allies have witnessed these efforts for years. have been conditioned to be held accountable for assaulting him.
Political violence experts say attacks against individuals and organizations are more likely when elected officials and prominent media figures are allowed to make threats and calls for violence with impunity. warned. The pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 was drawn to Washington in part by a Twitter post in which Trump promised to “go wild” weeks earlier.
The former president warned the public about the indictment in a post on his social media platform Thursday night, attacked the Justice Department and called the case “the biggest witch hunt in history.”
“An eye for an eye,” Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs wrote in a Twitter post on Friday. His warning came just before the special counsel in the case, Jack Smith, spoke to the public for the first time since he took over the investigation into Trump’s holding of classified documents.
Trump’s eldest son’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, posted a picture of the former president on Instagram with the words “retaliation coming” in all caps.
In Georgia, at the Republican state convention, Kari Lake, an ardent Trump advocate who refused to concede in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race, said many of Trump’s supporters own guns. emphasized.
“I have a message tonight for Merrick Garland, Jack Smith, Joe Biden and the Fake News Media guys. You should listen too. This is your message,” Lake said. rice field. “If you want to get to President Trump, you have to go through me, and you have to go through 75 million Americans like me. I’m an NRA member with a card.”
The crowd cheered.
“This is not a threat, it’s a public service announcement,” Lake added.
Political violence experts believe that even if offensive language by a celebrity does not directly lead to physical harm, the idea of violence becomes more acceptable and dangerous, especially if such rhetoric is left unchecked. He says it creates an atmosphere.
“So far, politicians who have used this rhetoric to incite people to violence have not been held accountable,” said Mary, a former Justice Department official who has studied the relationship between extremist rhetoric and violence. says McCord. “Until that happens, there are few deterrents to using this kind of language.”
The language used by some right-wing media personnel was harsher.
On Pete Santilli’s talk show, the conservative provocateur, if he were a Marine commander, ordered “all the Marines” to capture President Biden and said, “a ridiculous zip-tie behind a ridiculous pickup truck. I will throw it in,” he declared. Truck” and “Get him out of the White House”.
One of the guests, Lance Migliaccio, said that if it was legal and he could get in, he would “probably walk and shoot” General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who Trump identified. Told. as one of his enemies.
So far, the reaction from Trump supporters has been more vehement and blunt than that expressed after Trump was indicted in a separate case by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg in late March.
Shortly before the indictment, Trump posted an article on his social media platform, Truth Social, that included a photo of himself holding a baseball bat to one side and a picture of Bragg next to it. It was When Trump was arraigned in lower Manhattan in April, crowds of pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrators dueled in lower Manhattan.
On Saturday, Trump called the people investigating him a “crazy persecution” in his first public statement since he was recently indicted on seven counts related to keeping classified documents and obstructing justice. attacked as being involved in
The FBI has been the subject of much criticism from far-right Republican lawmakers and former presidential supporters. In an unusual move, the FBI field office is reporting all threats related to personnel and facilities to its Washington headquarters in the face of escalating partisanship. Law enforcement officials familiar with the move said the FBI was trying to figure out how many threats were being made to it across the country.
Whatever safety measures are put in place for Trump’s court appearance on Tuesday, security experts say the rhetoric and resulting threats are unlikely to subside, and will grow even more as the case unfolds and the 2024 election approaches. He said it was likely to be noticeable.
“Rhetoric like this has consequences,” said Timothy, lead investigator for the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol and Trump’s efforts to remain in the White House after taking office. J Heaphy said. “People we interviewed for the Jan. 6 investigation said they came to the Capitol because politicians and the president told them to come. Politicians said they were just rhetoric. I think, but people will listen and take it seriously, and politicians need to be aware of this and take more responsibility in situations like this.”
On Saturday morning, Trump took to Instagram to post a mashup video of himself swinging a golf club on the course and an animation of a golf ball hitting Biden’s head overlaid with footage of Biden falling at a public event. posted. In the last few days he tripped over something on stage.
It wasn’t the first time a right-wing figure had called for war or violence to support a former president, nor was it the first time Mr Trump called for supporters on his behalf.
In the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol, the idea of an impending civil war was rife among the right. Extremist leaders like Stewart Rose, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, and Enrique Tario, president of the Proud Boys, often make inflammatory references to the cleanup violence of the Revolutionary War. rallied their group. Both were convicted of sedition in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
More broadly, far-right websites shared tactics and techniques for people to attack buildings and discussed building gallows and trapping parliamentarians in tunnels.
The latest bellicose language in the wake of Trump’s indictment came after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club and residence in Florida last summer. and reflect what happened among the media. A document search was conducted and approximately 100 classified records were taken away.
“This. Meaning. War,” wrote pro-Trump news outlet Gateway Pandit at the time, setting the tone for others. Hours later, Trump-endorsed Washington congressional candidate Joe Kent appeared on a podcast run by former Trump political adviser Stephen K. Bannon, declaring: for a very long time. we are at war “
Indeed, within days of the heavy language following the Mar-a-Lago search, an Ohio man armed with a semi-automatic rifle attempted to break into an FBI field office near Cincinnati and was killed in a shootout with local police. .
Jonathan Swan contributed to the report.