The Most Disturbing Part of Trump’s Latest Rant

Former president warns of “death and destruction” if impeached

Image from Trump's 2016 campaign
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Donald Trump is back in his presidential – or at least modern – presidential form, posting blunt threats on social media in the middle of the night. This morning he posted on his Truth Social page:

What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who received more votes than any sitting President in history, and front runner (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a crime if It is known to all that NO crime was committed and also known that potential death and destruction from such false accusation could be catastrophic for our country? Why and who would do such a thing? Just a degenerate psychopath who really hates the USA!

Almost every sentence in this message is disturbing, but the most harrowing part is its threat of “death and destruction.” This is classic mafia boss talk from Trump: he is not voicing anyone specifically, and he is not explicitly inciting any action. He might even point out in his defense that some of his own critics have feared his arrest could provoke a violent backlash. And yet the intention is unmistakable to intimidate Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and anyone else who might seek to frame him for crimes. It’s a threat to the American justice system as a whole.

By now, no one is seriously wondering if that kind of threat is too much for other Republican leaders to bear. Everyone knows the answer is no. When Trump previously predicted he would be arrested earlier this week and called for protests, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy disagreed. “I don’t think people should protest about it, no,” he said. “We want quiet out there.” However, McCarthy also said, “He doesn’t speak in a harmful way, and nobody should.” GOP leaders have repeatedly found ways, however implausible, to put Trump’s abuses behind them.

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If the intimidation is shocking, the more revealing part of the tirade is what it says about Trump’s mindset amid the multiple criminal investigations against him, some of which seem to be moving toward indictment. As he once said in a very different context, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” And although Trump was referring to groping women at the time, that was also his philosophy of life: He broke rules and laws left and right, confident that he wouldn’t be asked to do it and if he did, he could he could deal with whatever came his way with a muscular lawyer or, failing that, a silent fine or settlement.Now Trump is realizing that just being a star isn’t enough to get him out of trouble.In fact, he has its notoriety attracts additional attention.

To further analyze his statement:

What kind of person can incriminate another person

That, of course, is the job of a prosecutor.

who received more votes than any sitting president in history and was the front runner (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination

Trump loves this topic of conversation, but the problem remains that Joe Biden got more votes. Its implication is that because he’s popular (or somewhat popular!), he should be immune from prosecution.

with a crime when everyone knows that NO crime was committed…

Trump asks the question. Much evidence points at least to the possibility of a crime, and the point of a trial is to determine whether one has been committed. The former president doesn’t even bother to substantively defend the expected accusation against him here, namely that he falsified business records by making his former fixer Michael Cohen a hush-hush payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels. (He’s previously denied any wrongdoing or an affair with Daniels.) Instead, he’s angered that anyone even bothers to claim the rules apply to him.

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Legal issues aside, a lively debate has erupted over whether an impeachment would actually be good for Trump by rallying support for him. He recently saw an improvement in the primary against Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and raised big bucks. But this truth letter shows that Trump is not acting like it’s good for him. His anger suggests he views Bragg’s investigation as a threat, and that leads him to the predictable and unacceptable position of issuing threats of violence. Trump has the right question: “Why & who would do such a thing?” Just a degenerate psychopath who really hates the US!” Not a bad answer either.


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