Donald Trump issued a thinly veiled threat on Truth Social after midnight Friday morning. Trump has escalated from calling for his supporters to protest if he is indicted and arrested for paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels to now claiming there will be “potential death and destruction” if his arrest is carried out.
This unhinged behavior has to stop.
If you are a blindly loyal Trump supporter and I’m offending you now, so be it. Be angry with me but it won’t change my mind. This is what Trump posted on Truth Social. See it for yourself.
Trump wrote: “What kind of person can charge another person, in this case, a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?”
There is the usual bragging about the number of votes he received in a past election and his first place in Republican primary polling, which is expected from Trump. But then he veers off into the dark side. Claiming horrific results as they have to do with his supporters, as he implies, is beyond the pale. A former president has to rise above inciting violence and destruction. Don’t tell me this isn’t a deliberate attempt to start trouble because that is exactly what this is. Trump is trying to get his loyal base all riled up and ready to cause mayhem.
Protesting is fine. Let the loyalists protest all day long, as much as they want. Let them go to Manhattan, go to Mar-a-Lago, go to Washington, D.C., and protest all they want. Protest is an American freedom covered under the First Amendment. However, the First Amendment does not cover riots. When a peaceful protest turns ugly and a riot breaks out, all bets are off. It’s time to call it a day and go home. Violence is unacceptable, certainly “potential death” should never be words coming out of Trump’s mouth about their reaction to a possible arrest. He is setting his loyalists up for disaster.
I guarantee you, if something horrible happens, Trump will not bail them out of jail. He will not pay their legal expenses. They will be on the hook for their foolish loyalty to a narcissistic old man.
All of this is not to say that what D.A. Bragg is doing is right. Everyone, including Bragg, knows it is not the right thing to prosecute Trump for paying off a porn star with whom he (allegedly) cheated on Melania. Bragg knew this misdemeanor shouldn’t be elevated and prosecuted but then he caved to pressure from Trump-deranged people. He put his political career ahead of the practice of law. No other former president has ever been indicted or arrested, much less prosecuted for anything, and certainly not a misdemeanor. The D.A.’s office wants to be known as the office that brought down Trump. There is also the fever dream that an indictment and/or arrest will stop Trump from running for president. That’s not going to happen.
Trump must stop his escalating rhetoric. He’s in a stressful position but he is encouraging the press coverage. He thrives on being the center of attention, even when that attention is the wrong kind. If he wants to be treated with respect as a former president, he has to act like a former president. I’m not saying he should sit down and shut up. He should, however, take a breath and put out a better message.
Maybe Trump is frustrated that his calls for protests and taking back the country on his behalf are falling on deaf ears. There has been little response to his first pitch to loyalists. Maybe he thinks that by getting more aggressive in his calls for support, those so inclined will respond. What I don’t think he understands is how the riot on January 6 is playing out and how that affects future protests on Trump’s behalf. A lot of people are sitting in jail after that riot.
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