Trump's Silence on Death Threats Is Evidence Against Him

I remember, as I'm sure you do, in the years after the 9/11 attacks, that every time some violence was committed by someone who was Muslim, the entire Muslim community in the United States was expected, if not forced, by the right and by the media to make a statement condemning the violence. It's always been an absolutely ludicrous thing since it presumes that a Muslim who committed a shooting represented all Muslims if the denouncement didn't happen. It also takes away focus from the very real Islamophobia and violence against Muslims in this country. But even though the local imam had nothing to do with a shooter, that imam always had to say on camera that Islam is a religion of peace and the shooter was really degrading his faith.

I also remember, as I'm sure you do, the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. Sometimes, some people connected to the protests (very few people in the context of how huge the marches and rallies were) rioted and committed violence, looting and starting fires (allowing that some this might also have been caused by infiltrators). Any leaders who supported Black Lives Matter, any politician, especially Black politicians, had to get in front of reporters to condemn the violence and call on supporters to stop. This actually made sense. When some in your nonviolent movement get violent, you say something to try to end it or distance yourself from it, even if it's being blown out of proportion. A burning police station is never a good look. 

So it's fascinating and horrific and entirely expected that former president/charity thief and current indicted felon/rapist/GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has not said a word to denounce the death threats, swatting incidents, and actual violence, including murder, done in his name. And that goes across the board. The regularity with which anyone who opposes Trump gets death threats against them and their families means that it's a feature, not a bug, in the polluted MAGA ecosystem. We know that Republicans stay in line at least partly because they don't want to deal with the flood of violent crazies calling, messaging, and posting about the harm that will come to those heretical to the MAGA mob. And it's not just members of Congress or other elected officials who are the targets. We know that regular election workers and regular federal government workers get called out by name by President Trump or one of his cabal of lickspittles, goons, and lackeys, and then their lives are made intolerable by the threats against them. Trump knows exactly what's going to happen, and he gleefully participates in it. It's why Judge Engoron in his fraud trial placed a gag order on Trump because he was making a clerk's life a nightmare.

In recent weeks, hoax calls to law enforcement have led to swatting against judges in Trump's cases (yet oddly not against Trump appointee Judge Aileen Cannon), as well as against Special Counsel Jack Smith. Swatting is especially insidious because of the potential for such incidents to lead to unintended death and destruction. And, sorry, but I can't help but think of some MAGA cop using the opportunity to "accidentally" gun down someone who might put Trump behind bars. 

This doesn't even get into the actual violence committed by Trump supporters and MAGA redhats, from mass shootings to racist and homophobic attacks

And before you even say it, yes, there are incidents where someone on the left is to blame, like the recent swatting of Marjorie Taylor Greene. But, if asked, any leader on the left will call it out and condemn anyone who does it. 

Trump revels in the bullying of anyone who breathes a negative thing about him. Over on his worthless Truth Toilet, he regularly, savagely degrades the judges and prosecutors and opposing attorneys and rape victim E. Jean Carroll. He recently posted a clip of an interview with convicted Mafia member and murderer Sammy "the Bull" Gravano where the mobster said he couldn't "get" Trump, implying Trump was too honest. Trump implored, "Thank you to Sammy the Bull. I hope Judges Engoron & Kaplan see this. We need fairness, strength and honesty in our New York Courts. We don’t have it now!" That's right. A guy who had a hit list is a character witness. How is that not an implied threat? Trump advocates for violent people and threatens that violence will occur if he's not acquitted and re-elected. And he is perfectly content to let others suffer from the violence and the threats from his cult members. He can't be bothered to tell them to knock it off because it's part of a strategy of sowing chaos into the legal system.

Frankly, this silence on those committing or promising violence in his name, as well as his own threats, implied or otherwise, are of a piece with his inaction for most of January 6, 2021. Trump watched the insurrectionists riot and attack the Capitol. He could have immediately called for it to end and denounced everyone involved. But, as we know, he didn't. He stayed quiet for hours and watched to see if it would pay off in his favor, only grudgingly telling them to go home but assuring them that "we love you," thus giving them license to continue violently agitating. That's what he wants: others to do his bidding while he does nothing to stop them. His continuing silence should be used as evidence in his January 6 trial. It's a pattern of behavior to allow people to be hurt in his name.

It works both ways: if you have to condemn violence in your movement to prove you're nonviolent, then if you're not condemning violence in your movement, it means your movement is violent. And your followers. And you. And the justice system should deal with you as such.