Donald Trump just Explicitly Endorsed Political Violence

Published by Georges Munang on

Donald Trump just Explicitly Endorsed Political Violence

We have been heading towards this moment for a long time. Donald Trump, American president, has for years endorsed violence from the rally podium, encouraging his supporters to punch protesters in the face and offering to pay their legal bills.

Trump has long demonized the free press as The Enemy of the People, and described journalists in dehumanizing terms like “scum.” He has blithely suggested he “hates these people”—reporters—but “would never kill them,” a disgusting way to put the idea on the table.

So it was inevitable that we would arrive here. This week, his White House was reportedly working with the government of Saudi Arabia to absolve Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of involvement in the disappearance and reported murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is a U.S. resident. On Thursday night, Trump took the stage for a rally in Montana and put a bloody icing on the cake:

The President of the United States just praised his political ally for assaulting a member of the press, the same week that president’s possible role in covering up the murder of a green-card-holding journalist comes under serious examination.

(It was not enough that Trump may be covering for the Saudis because of his business interests, a conflict that would put him in violation of the Constitution and his oath of office.) Trump is referencing the incident where Congressman Greg Gianforte of Montana body-slammed a Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, the night before he won a special election to his seat last year. Gianforte was charged with assault and pled guilty to a misdemeanor.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will surely say it was a joke but it wasn’t. The Ralph Steadman figures in the crowd were laughing, but it wasn’t because Trump reeled off a snappy one-liner.

These were the laughs of people who relish cruelty, who like to feel the power coursing through their veins when they’re part of a movement now explicitly pledging to meet its opposition with violence—and which now has proto-brown shirt groups beating protesters in the streets of the nation’s largest city.

It was something closer, perhaps, to the kind of laughs Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to hearing as a 15-year-old, which the rally crowds unleashed once more when the president mocked her from the podium.

And it was a response to the world’s most powerful man endorsing political violence against reporters who question members of his movement and attempt to hold them accountable. Make no mistake: the crowd understood the president’s message loud and clear.

Esquire

Categories: Politics

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