In the wake of former US President Donald Trump’s indictment, a disturbing surge in violent rhetoric from his Republican supporters is fanning the flames of political unrest, posing a significant threat to American democracy.
Rise of Violent Rhetoric
Prominent Republican supporters of the former US President, Donald Trump, escalated their rhetoric, fueling concerns about a possible surge in political violence.
This apprehension was amplified within a day of Trump’s indictment, when Andy Biggs, an Arizona congressman, took to Twitter to call for retribution, alarmingly stating that they had entered a “war phase.”
A Call to Arms
Meanwhile, Clay Higgins, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, issued cryptic, militaristic directives to his followers. He declared his unwavering support for Trump, referring to him as the real president. Higgins’ tweets, with their ambiguous military references, echoed the fiery tenor of Biggs’.
Such aggressive statements from the two far-right congressmen were seen as stark indicators of how violent rhetoric was becoming normalized within the Republican party, particularly following Trump’s indictment. It was estimated that about 12 million adults, making up 4.4% of the US population, condoned violence to reinstate Trump to power.
A Potent Source
Jeffrey Sharlet, a professor at Dartmouth College, noted that the current wave of right-wing agitation was more potent and its source more disturbing than he’d witnessed in two decades of reporting on such movements. He highlighted that the ‘word salad’ of Higgins’ statement was a clear call to arms for those familiar with militias.
Trump’s Legacy of Violence
This pattern of violent language was not new but had been consistently endorsed by Trump. This trend had seemingly peaked during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 when Trump’s supporters stormed the building to thwart Joe Biden’s election victory certification.
A Trail of Violence
From his days as a candidate, Trump encouraged violent actions. On the day of the Capitol attack, he urged his supporters to “fight like hell,” which resulted in the deadliest attack on the US Capitol, causing five fatalities. Evidence of Trump’s violent rhetoric inciting his supporters was rampant across pro-Trump forums.
A Rise in Violence-Inspired Cases
A 2020 survey by ABC News revealed at least 54 criminal cases linked to violent acts or threats of violence, with Trump being invoked as the driving force behind them. Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago, noted a concerning shift of political violence from the fringe to the mainstream in the United States.
Violence in Defense of Trump
Trump’s allies outside Washington also resorted to violent language to defend him following his recent indictment. Kari Lake, a failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate, delivered an ominous warning to Trump’s detractors. Far-right talk show host Pete Santilli, called for the military to detain President Biden, while another guest on his show made a lethal threat against the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
The Erosion of Democracy
Sharlet voiced concern over the escalating violent rhetoric, stating that it was eroding the foundations of democracy and inciting ‘lone wolves’ to take extreme actions. Each day it persisted, the threat it posed to democracy intensified.
This article Trump’s Legal Battles Ignite Threats of Political Violence first appeared on Wealthy Living.
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