Trumpworld incites the MAGA lunatic fringe against the FBI
It was a short journey from "back the blue" to "terrible things are going to happen."
In the days following the FBI’s August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, a man armed with an AR-15 who attended the January 6 insurrection was killed by officers after he fired a nail gun into an FBI field office in Cincinnati, and a Pennsylvania man was charged with posting violent threats on Gab about the bureau.
“You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU,” he posted, according to the criminal complaint, echoing similar threats made on Truth Social by the man killed after attacking the FBI office.
These aren’t isolated incidents. Last Friday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that the government has observed “an increase in threats to federal law enforcement and to a lesser extent other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI’s recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida.” A political movement that not so long ago talked a lot about “backing the blue” has now violently turned against them, all because of Trump’s sloppy (to put it charitably) handling of classified materials, including nuclear documents.
Given that backdrop, it’s notable but not really surprising that prominent Trumpworld figures, including Tucker Carlson and Trump himself, are responding with anything but calls for calm. On the contrary, they’re engaging in stochastic terrorism.
“This could get very bad, very fast”
Carlson was on break last week, so he hadn’t spoken publicly about the raid until Monday night. He wasted no time calling the search “an attack on the rule of law” (even though it was entirely lawful) and added, ominously, “this could get very bad, very fast.”
Carlson’s comments were right in line with what Trump told Fox News in his first media interview since the search.
"The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I've never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one — years of scams and witch hunts, and now this," Trump told Fox.
Trump’s lawyers are saying largely the same thing. During a Newsmax interview Monday, Alina Habba said the DOJ charging Trump would be “a monstrous mistake” because it “would cause so much mayhem.”
What kind of mayhem? The attack in Cincinnati is a representative example. But if MAGA crazies are looking for more specific targets, Trump’s lawyers are pushing for DOJ to release the names of witnesses who helped in the search warrant process, while right-wing media goes to desperate lengths to whip up hatred toward the judge involved in approving the warrant application.
Whipping up violence, of course, is a classic Trump tactic. While many examples could be cited, two that come to mind right away are mass shootings in Pittsburgh and El Paso that were clearly inspired by Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants. And while Trump did say in his latest Fox News interview that "if there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that,” comments he made later on made clear that was more of a threat than a good faith effort to relax tensions.
"Whatever we can do to help — because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen,” he said.
By paying lip service to calling for calm while at the same time signaling to his supporters that they are justified in being violently angry, Trump’s comments about the raid resemble what he said to his supporters on January 6.
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he tweeted that day. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
It’s hard to defend the indefensible
Trump and supporters of his like Carlson are resorting to barely veiled threats of violence in part because it’s so hard to defend his conduct on its merits.
We’ve known for months now that Trump’s handling of documents when he left the White House was reckless at best, and since the search all he’s been able to come up with in his own defense is weak whataboutism, baseless claims about the feds planting evidence, and transparent falsehoods. And in an ironic twist, Trump is facing perhaps his gravest legal crisis yet over his mishandling of classified materials while fans at his rallies still chant for Hillary Clinton to be locked up for her mishandling of classified information.
“In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information,” Trump said in August 2016. “No one will be above the law.”
But if you thought Republican voters might finally be turned off by Trump’s hypocrisy and buffoonery, think again. A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted after the search found that Trump gained 10 points on possible 2024 rival Ron DeSantis since July, widening his lead to 40 points (57 percent to 17 percent). It’s almost like the law and order party actually doesn’t object to crimes as long as they own the libs.
Sean Hannity, meanwhile, is already publicly encouraging Trump to run for president even if he’s convicted of felonies sometime between now and 2024. We’ve come a long way from “lock her up!” while at the same time not really traveling very far at all.
DeSantis packs a stunning amount of disinformation into 2 minutes
At the end of a news conference Tuesday that was ostensibly about recruiting teachers, DeSantis demonstrated that he too is proficient in the Trumpian technique of flooding the zone with BS.