It’s been apparent for some time that Donald Trump runs this country like a mob boss. But while the nation was bracing for the Senate taking up a motion to cancel his declaration of a nonexistent emergency on the Mexican border, Trump had a moment that could have easily been taken from the pages of “The Godfather.” He issued a not-so-veiled warning to his opponents–his most diehard supporters have no qualms about getting rough.
Trump was chatting with his second-favorite news source, Breitbart News, about how Paul Ryan derailed Freedom Caucus attempts to subpoena people on the left. As he is usually wont to do, Trump veered into another topic–the difference between the tactics liberals use and the tactics conservatives use.
In an apparent attempt to drive home his recent meme that Democrats are an angry mob, Trump told Breitbart political editor Matthew Boyle that liberals play “a tougher game” than his supporters. But then he gave a wink and a nudge to his own mob.
I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
The message was obvious–he doesn’t mind if his supporters decide to get rough. But if they do, the “libs” would bear responsibility.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has tacitly condoned violence by his supporters. He did so too many times to count during the 2016 campaign. But it’s quite another thing for him to do so as a sitting president.
The wider world found out about this Godfather moment from Daniel Dale, the Washington bureau chief at The Toronto Star. He noted on Twitter that this isn’t a one-off for the Donald.
Specifically, at one of his final rallies of the 2018 cycle, in Macon, Georgia.
Greg Sargent of The Washington Post noted the similarities between this comment and Trump’s suggestion that “the Second Amendment people” might have taken matters in their own hands if a President Hillary Clinton tried to come for their guns.
This probably explains the shocked reaction from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
Hayes’ colleague, Lawrence O’Donnell, saw it another way. To his mind, Trump actually wants his supporters to be a few steps away from violence–just like any real-life godfather wants his soldiers to be.
Regardless of your take on this, this rhetoric is nothing short of alarming. Imagine if Hillary, Barack Obama, or any of the 2020 Democratic challengers suggested that things could get “very bad, very bad” if their supporters are provoked.
Let’s say it clearly, firmly, and in no uncertain terms. There is no place for this sort of talk in our politics from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
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