President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to unleash the anger of his base over what he perceives as “vicious” attacks from the left.
Speaking to Breitbart Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle, Trump accused liberals of being “vicious” and savvier at playing “cuter and tougher.”
“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump alleged in the exclusive interview. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?”
The president then boasted about having “the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump,” referring to them as “the tough people.”
What Trump said next was harrowing.
The president warned that his aforementioned base may have no choice but to turn violent if Democrats in the House continue to investigate his finances, his businesses, and his suspected clandestine relationship with Russia.
“But they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
“But the left plays it cuter and tougher,” Trump continued. “Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is –you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”
Barack Obama and Bill Clinton had it easy with Republicans in Congress, apparently.
Historical revisionism aside, Trump’s remarks have disturbed Americans across the country, who are interpreting his words as fascist dog whistling.
What Trump just told Breitbart is outrageous. For him to casually reference his followers being people with guns and military might and completely on his side against the rest of us is literally him threatening *our* lives.
— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) March 14, 2019
Trump, from breitbart. Never mind that yes of course the republicans have sought & had investigations (what?), the bit about military, police, & bikers-for-trump support really is jr strongman 101. I know folks on the right will holler “context,” so here’s the whole paragraph. pic.twitter.com/YjXnIpEFr6
— benmont tench III (@benchten) March 14, 2019
—so when trump makes veiled threats at his opponents, as he did to Breitbart, from his position as president of the United States, by saying that “the military, the police, and bikers” might do violence to them, THIS IS SERIOUS. It is not funny. It gives tacit permission—
— Deanie Mills (@deaniemills) March 14, 2019
Using paramilitaries like biker gangs has been a common authoritarian tactic. A pro-Putin biker gang—dubbed the Night Wolves—have used their “tough” aesthetic to incite violence and fear in Ukraine on Putin’s behalf as recently as last year.
So, in other words, the president is condoning/inciting violence against his political enemies? Fascist, much?
— Eric Slater (@ericsslater) March 14, 2019
Can you give us more context? It sounds like he is threatening martial law and vigilante justice if he doesn't get his way.
— Bear Walks with Teri (@TeriPDC) March 14, 2019
This isn’t even a thinly veiled threat. It’s blatant.
Trump wants a police state, and he means it in all the worst ways.
— Jules (@IAmJulesWard) March 14, 2019
And this was not the first time Trump has sprinkled the seeds of armed insurrection.
Following the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Trump said that “bikers for Trump” were “peaceful people” and that he hopes they “stay that way.”
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) March 14, 2019
This is not normal behavior for a US president.
This is the moment, and the day, when a squad of US Marshalls should escort trump out of the People's House. He had no business to bring Breitbart, of all media outlets, into the Oval office to send out a call for violence against our voting in 2020. He's crossed the red line. https://t.co/p2zuNkRZEw
— Arabella (@Spireship) March 14, 2019
This is the way two-bit, tin-horn tyrants talk. And would-be banana-Republican dictators.
It’s a shame no one in his own Republic party has the spine or the love of country to call him out on his dangerous language & un-American outlook.
— Jean Louise Finch (@ScoutFinchS60) March 14, 2019
I at one time envied Americans.
As a Canuck I always quietly thought America was the place to be, but not now.
Now I’m humbled to be safe in the country nobody pays attention to.
I feel terrible for any common sense American who clearly sees the divide #Trump is creating…
— James Cheetham (@WinnipegWriter) March 14, 2019
You can’t make this up. Even if you tried hard. Not even if it was in Hollywood. This is literally the worst reality show ever.
— The Angry Young Man (@love2hatewinter) March 14, 2019
Let's be clear: is the president suggesting that he would foment a second Civil War if he loses in 2020?
— Patrick White (@whitepatrick) March 14, 2019
This does not seem mob-like or despotic at all.
— thegater 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇫🇷🇩🇪🇯🇵🇬🇧 🇮🇹 (@Andy_Lofgren) March 14, 2019
Incidentally, we were recently warned. During his tesimony before the House Oversight Committee last month, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen predicted that Trump would refuse to peacefully relinquish power if he loses the 2020 election.
“I fear that if he loses the presidential election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Cohen said.
With good reason.