“The President of the United States is encouraging the military, police, and bikers to violently attack his critics on the left.”
President Donald Trump delivered a thinly-veiled threat in an interview this week with the far right wing website Breitbart.
“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump told Breitbart (Google cache version.)
The remark was framed as remarks on the “general tensions between conservatives and leftists.”
Trump’s remarks were not widely publicized, as Breitbart, which for years was run by Trump’s former campaign CEO Steve Bannon, is not a mainstream publication. Bannon infamously described the site as the platform for the alt-right.
But Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, who focuses on tracking and fact-checking all of Trump’s remarks, posted the quote to Twitter. It quickly drew concern, outrage, and condemnation – and repeated charges of fascism.
Here’s what some experts are saying about the threat from the President:
Founder of ThinkProgress and Popular.info:
We can’t sugarcoat this.
The President of the United States is encouraging the military, police, and bikers to violently attack his critics on the left. https://t.co/UdP9EcxjPy
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 14, 2019
Trump is propped up by a transnational crime syndicate dominated by billionaires. Folks will emphasize the threat here — but it’s also an attempt to make himself seem rooted in all-American, blue-collar protection. In reality Trump’s big backers are corrupt elites just like him. https://t.co/I0lRghCrXd
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) March 14, 2019
Emmy award-winning MSNBC anchor:
This is…a threat of fascist violence by the President ?https://t.co/JQ1Yq3L9Nt
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 14, 2019
Public policy professor, pundit, and political scientist:
This is how an authoritarian talks. Happening right in front of us. https://t.co/7VK8ZUS6fF
— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) March 14, 2019
Washington Post journalist:
Imagine a 2011 Obama interview in which he mused about the New Black Panthers supporting him in case things “got to a certain point.” https://t.co/9B0tcSdZpv
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 14, 2019
Senior Writer at RollingStone:
This is fascistic language. https://t.co/hjRLk6oHTK
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 14, 2019
You mean like when your ceaseless attacks on democratically elected officials and the free press inspired a pipe bomber and a Coast Guard lieutenant to plot the assassination of your “enemies list”? Is that what you’re trying to inspire here yet again? https://t.co/yKCjnyo22r
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 14, 2019
Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama:
Are we supposed to take this seriously or literally? https://t.co/G2Ofdm13Xk
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) March 14, 2019
Editor-in-Chief of Shakesville.com:
This, too, must be read as part of Trump’s campaign of stochastic terrorism. He is inviting average people to commit violence on his behalf, but distancing himself from it with the pretense that he’s just stating a “truth” about “the way it is.” https://t.co/0vyV9gIg90
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 14, 2019
National correspondent for the Los Angeles Times:
The South made the same argument about sissified Northerners, roughly some time shortly before starting and then losing the Civil War. https://t.co/AhZQUP8jcO
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) March 14, 2019
Journalist, think tank fellow:
Well that’s fascist https://t.co/OAOi6WzmH1
— Jonathan M. Katz✍🏻 (@KatzOnEarth) March 14, 2019
Activist and writer:
Sounds like Trump has escalated his theatrics from civil war to an all-out coup? https://t.co/DWcgLWbKlD
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) March 14, 2019
Columnist at The Intercept:
There he goes threatening violence and civil conflict once again – not to mention sounding like a bully in the playground. https://t.co/Y1eBxCxNoU
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) March 14, 2019
If Trump loses in 2020, he may encourage street riots. https://t.co/s1KAVGI1J6
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) March 14, 2019
Contributing writer for the Washington Monthly:
This is fascism defined, folks. Wow. https://t.co/6bZCI9Rd1A
— John Stoehr’s Editorial Board (@johnastoehr) March 14, 2019
Image by The White House via Flickr
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‘We Can’t Let That Go On’ Trump Says at National Prayer Breakfast in Threat Attacking Pelosi and Romney
President Donald Trump kicked off his appearance at Thursday morning’s National Prayer Breakfast by showing up 40 minutes late, waving newspapers in the air to brag about his acquittal, then delivering a speech in which he attacked and threatened his political opponents, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seated just feet away from him, and Senator Mitt Romney, who cast the only Republican vote to convict him just one day earlier.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump accused.
“Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so. So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on. And I’ll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House” he threatened.
Speaker Pelosi has frequently said in earnest that she regularly prays for President Trump.
“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president has been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” Trump said, as the Washington Post reports. “They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
The Post calls the annual event one “that draws lawmakers and others in the spirit of reconciliation and bridge-building.”
President Trump: “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so. So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on.”#NationalPrayerBreakfast pic.twitter.com/79XCLpD7GP
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 6, 2020
Watch: Trump Laughs, Jokes After Supporter Calls for Shooting Migrants
President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Panama City Beach, Florida Wednesday night was the usual raucous affair – except for one exchange which has many even more outraged than usual.
Complaining to supporters from the Florida panhandle that migrants are trying to enter the U.S. through the Southern border, the President asked, “How do you stop these people?”
One supporter, as The Guardian reported, responded, “Shoot them!”
President Trump laughed, paused, then turned it into an applause line.
“That’s only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement,” Trump proclaimed. As the audience broke out into cheers and applause, Trump, who himself has called labeled immigrants “animals,” repeated: “Only in the panhandle.”
At his rally tonight, Trump says the government is unable to violently attack immigrants, someone in the crowd shouted “Shoot them!”
The crowd & Trump erupt in laughter & cheers. Trump says, “Only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement.”pic.twitter.com/SgQd2OH9ti
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 9, 2019
White House Aides Scrambling to Deal With Fallout From Trump’s Thinly-Veiled Threat of Violence: Report
Staffers Are Trying to Justify Remarks by Saying ‘That’s Just the Way the President Talks’
White House aides are reportedly struggling to figure out how to “spin” comments the president made prior to the New Zealand mosque massacre that could be viewed as incitements to violence.
In an interview with Breitbart ostensibly about a free speech order he’s about to sign, the president referenced all the “tough” people he has in his corner.
“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump said. “But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”
CNN host Wolf Blitzer noted the comments were “disturbing” when asking White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins about how things are within the administration.
“Aides behind the scenes were pushing back on this saying, ‘that’s just the way the president talks,’” Collins explained. “That’s something you hear when the president makes a remark like this.”
She added that she wasn’t surprised by what he said because he’s made similar comments “in front of cameras, at rallies and events like that.
“Aides don’t know how to respond to this,” Collins added. “They don’t know how to spin this or anything like that. They hope that this is one of those comments, because the president says so many things, that they can just kind of let go by with the news cycle.”
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