March 15, 2019

NO ONE JUST HATES MEXICANS:

Trump again nods toward violence by his supporters -- and maybe something bigger (Aaron Blake, March 14, 2019, Washington Post)

In an interview with Trump-friendly Breitbart News this week, Trump talked about how "tough" the left was getting, relative to his supporters. His quote meanders a little bit, but stick with it and focus on the text in bold:

It's so terrible what's happening. 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? 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. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.


As The Washington Post's David Nakamura pointed out, this is actually quite similar to something Trump said at a September campaign rally for now-Sen. Josh Hawley (R) in Missouri:

They're so lucky that we're peaceful. Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump -- how about Bikers for Trump? They travel all over the country. They got Trump all over the place, and they're great. They've been great. But these are tough people. These are great people. But they're peaceful people, and Antifa and all -- they'd better hope they stay that way. I hope they stay that way. I hope they stay that way.

Trump's public comments are often more strategic than his critics give him credit for. He will routinely suggest something without technically saying, "This is what I want." And he will generally lather himself in plausible deniability. "It would be very bad" and "I hope they stay that way" allow him to say he doesn't actually want this thing he's hinting at to happen.

But it's clear from these comments, and the repetition of this formula, that he's suggesting his supporters from the military, law enforcement and even bikers could be tempted to rise up if things don't go Trump's way. He's at the very least toying with the idea that things could become violent.

Posted by at March 15, 2019 9:10 AM

  

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