Donald Trump has warned his opponents that things could get tough for those who try to deny him a second term. Daniel Dale writes in The Toronto Star:
U.S. President Donald Trump issued an extaordinary warning to political opponents on Monday, telling a right-wing website that “it would be very bad, very bad” if his supporters in the military, police and a motorcycle group were provoked into getting “tough.”
Trump uttered the remark in an interview with Breitbart News. It came, according to Breitbart, as Trump was arguing that “the left” plays politics in a more “vicious” manner than the pro-Trump right even though “the tough people” are on Trump’s side.
“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,” Trump said.
The quote went largely unnoticed by the U.S. media until the Star tweeted it on Thursday, when it prompted alarm and criticism.
This is not the first time Trump has made this kind of threat:
Trump made another veiled suggestion of retribution from the military, police and Bikers for Trump at a campaign rally in November. After mocking Antifa protesters as weaklings — “you see these little arms,” he joked — he said, “And then you see the clubs in their hands. You know, they’re tough guys, right. Where are the Bikers for Trump? Where are the police? Where are the military? Where are the ICE? Where are the Border Patrol? No. No. We’ve taken a lot. We’ve taken a lot, folks.”
There really is an organization which calls itself Bikers for Trump:
Bikers for Trump founder Chris Cox, a chainsaw artist described in one 2017 newspaper profile as “exceedingly polite,” offered in advance of Trump’s inauguration in 2017 to form a “wall of meat” between the president and protesters. He said, though, that he expected a peaceful gathering. While group members have had verbal confrontations with anti-Trump protesters, there have not been reports of major violence.
Trump met with some of the Bikers for Trump at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in August. In November, Cox travelled to Florida and made unfounded allegations of election fraud. In December, Cox and his German shepherd stood outside the courthouse where former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was to be sentenced for lying to the FBI, with Cox telling Mother Jones magazine he was “here to make sure [Flynn’s] family is not assaulted or intimidated.”
Some people take all of this as a joke:
“I think it’s more of a hope than a threat,” liberal MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted about Trump’s comments. “Trump’s supporters aren’t as bad & violent & criminal as he hopes they are. They peacefully watched President Obama inaugurated twice. They’ll do that again for the next Democrat. Let’s not help him fan his imaginary flame.”
Still, it's yet another peek into Donald Trump's fevered brain.
Image: The Toronto Star