The thought that Trump aides Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro and Kayleigh McEnany and her crew of spin doctors will have to surrender their White House passes, and thereafter resort to taxis, ride-hailing companies, Metro or their own two feet to get around town is, well, delicious.
Today, I am looking forward to a William P. Barr-free Justice Department, a State Department no longer under the thumb of Mike Pompeo and a Defense Department led by experienced and competent professionals, all of which ensures that the causes of justice, diplomacy and our national defense will soon be in good hands.
Yet, I stop short of breathing a sigh of relief because Trump will be out of office. He will, after all, only be out of the building.
What that narcissistic demagogue has already done, and what his vindictive nature is causing him to now do, foreshadows that dark days may lie ahead.
The unscrupulous and defeated president, who continues to press unfounded charges of being cheated out of the election, is more than an American abnormality. Trump is doing damage to our democratic system by undermining confidence in our elections. There is also an added aspect to his recklessness. Trump’s unconscionable actions might be laying the groundwork for politically motivated violence.
Because of his baseless charges, millions of Americans believe the 2020 election was not free and fair. A majority of Republicans believe Trump actually won.
Hordes of people believe that fraud was committed: rigged voting machines; irregularities in signature matching; corrupt late-arriving votes; dead people casting ballots; crooked poll workers.
Trump is encouraging his supporters to resist, to not accept the results, to believe with all their hearts that he is being cheated out of what is rightfully his.
Said Trump this week in a fundraising pitch: “We cannot let the Democrats STEAL this Election from your all-time favorite President. I’m calling on YOU to FIGHT BACK. We need to bolster our critical Election Defense Fund if we’re going to keep going. We can’t do this without you.”
Trump has in his corner right-wing activists such as the pro-Trump caravan that descended on Portland, Ore., in August and engaged in clashes with anti-racism demonstrators. Trump hailed the caravan riders as “GREAT PATRIOTS.”
Trump’s claims of fraud have been celebrated and taken as an invitation to engage in conflict by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In the days after Election Day, one anonymous poster on the messaging app Telegram shared an image of three rifles and a handgun, along with the words, “I’m ready.” Another wrote, “Get the guns and the [armor] ready.”
A verbatim Post report: “On TheDonald, a pro-Trump message board previously banned from Reddit, roughly 6,000 accounts boosted an early-morning thread saying that ‘they are trying to STEAL the election. We will never let them do it.’
“Dozens of users called for ‘war.’ ‘Lock and load,’ one responded. ‘I’m ready,’ another said. One account, named ‘America1stAndOnly,’ said they were ‘standing by and keeping my rifle by my side.’ ”
Then there’s the Proud Boys, a white-nationalist and violence-glorifying organization. Trump doesn’t denounce them. He tells members of the group, as he famously put it while debating Biden, to “stand back and stand by” — advice that they rightfully took as an “attaboy.”
“Stand back” they won’t.
In fact, pro-Trump organizers have planned another D.C. rally on Dec. 12, two days before electoral college ballots are to be cast. The Proud Boys, with their black-and-yellow garb, seemed to confirm on social media that they will be back in town.
A pro-Trump rally on Nov. 14 ended with confrontations between MAGA marchers and counterdemonstrators that resulted in fistfights, at least one stabbing, injured police, recovering of firearms and more than 20 arrests.
Trump, by declaring Biden’s victory illegitimate and encouraging street protests that lead to clashes, is sowing the seeds of violent behavior.
It began before his election in 2016, and it won’t end after his departure from power on Jan. 20. Trump knows that there is nothing innocuous about his speech when he says, “knock the crap out of them,” or tells police “please don’t be too nice.” In whipping up his supporters through inflammatory lies, Trump encourages mayhem in the democratic process.
The good news is that he’s getting evicted from the White House. The bad news is that words uttered by Trump will encourage dangerous behavior that our country least needs.
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