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Trump’s many whistles on unrest and violence

Before the 2016 elections, Marco Rubio warned about this. Ted Cruz warned about it. Nikki Haley warned him. Rick Perry even previewed it in a strangely prescient way.

All of these prominent Republicans have linked Donald Trump’s rhetoric to the potential for political violence. Then we saw such violence on January 6, 2021.

Despite the predictable nature of this situation — and even the fact that it was As expected – Trump has once again fought for control of the Republican Party, and he continues to unsubtly raise the specter of unrest and violence as a political bargaining chip.

The most recent example: In his first interview since being convicted on 34 counts in Manhattan, Trump this weekend raised the possibility of being imprisoned or under house arrest, saying: “I I’m not sure the public would accept it.

“I think it would be difficult for the public to accept,” Trump told Fox News. “You know, at some point there’s a breaking point.”

This is vintage Trump. He does not explicitly advocate unrest. It is not even explicitly mentioning troubles in this matter. But he points suggestively at something very bad around the corner if he doesn’t get what he wants.

And as with his recent “bloodbath” comment, the problem isn’t that this comment is a particularly egregious example of dog-whistling toward his supporters; this is simply the latest in a long line of suggestive comments. Context is essential and the results are unmistakable.

Trump wants his enemies to worry about the situation and perhaps adjust their behavior accordingly. The problem is, we’ve seen how his supporters can view his comments as a call to action. (And Trump’s comments, crucially, are almost never accompanied by a warning to remain peaceful.)

Let’s recap this long line.

March 2016 (warning about refusing the Republican nomination)

“I think it would be – I think there would be riots. …I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things could happen, they really do. I believe that. I wouldn’t direct it, but I think bad things would happen.

August 2016 (warning about Hillary Clinton’s choice of judges)

“If she chooses her judges, there’s nothing you can do, folks. Although Second Amendment people might exist, I don’t know.”

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump. I have tough people, but they don’t play tough – until they reach a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.

Amid protests for racial justice, he tweeted a video in which a supporter said, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” (the supporter clarified he wasn’t being literal). A day later, tweeted: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

September 2020 (when challenged to condemn white supremacists and militias threatening violence)

“Proud boys, stand back and stand there. But I will tell you: someone has to do something about Antifa and the left.” (The Proud Boys later led the January 6 attack on the Capitol, with several of them convicted of seditious conspiracy.)

November 2020 (in response to an adverse decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court)

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on voting in Pennsylvania is VERY dangerous. This will allow widespread and uncontrolled cheating and undermine our entire system of laws. It will also cause violence in the streets. Something must be done!”

August 2022 (after Mar-a-Lago search)

“People are so angry about what’s happening. Anything we can do to help, as the temperature needs to drop in the country. If it doesn’t, terrible things will happen. » (Even conservative Fox News hosts were skeptical that Trump was actually interested in lowering the temperature.)

February 2023 (amid talk of disqualifying Trump from office)

Reposts a supporter who warns that disqualification supporters “will have to figure out how to fight 80,000,000+ this won’t happen again.” People my age and older will physically fight for him this time. …They got my 6 and we are locked and LOADED.

March 2023 (before his indictment in Manhattan)

“What kind of person can accuse another person… of a crime, when everyone knows that NO crime was committed, and also knows that the potential death and destruction in such a false accusation could be catastrophic for our country? »

Trump added: “OUR COUNTRY IS DESTROYED BECAUSE THEY TELL US TO BE PEACEFUL!” »

“I think they think (pursuing Trump) is the way they’re going to try to win, and that’s not the way things happen. There will be chaos in the country. This is a very bad thing. This is a very bad precedent. Like we said, it’s opening a Pandora’s box.” (A Washington Post reporter asked Trump as he walked away if he would tell his supporters not to become violent. Trump ignored the question.)

April 2024 (on whether there will be violence if he loses)

“I don’t think we’ll make it; I think we will win. And if we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.

washingtonpost

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