Donald Trump’s call to arms triggers comparisons on January 6
Donald Trump’s call for Americans to ‘protest’, after claiming he would be ‘arrested on Tuesday’, has drawn an angry reaction online, with commentators comparing it to rhetoric used before the January 6, 2021 attack against Congress.
Speculation has been growing for weeks that Trump is set to be indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, for allegedly violating campaign finance laws to arrange a $130,000 payout in silent money to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
On January 6, 2021, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed Congress in a bid to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election result. In the ensuing chaos, a Trump supporter was shot dead by police and dozens of officers were injured after being attacked with poles, rocks and chemical irritants.
Posting on his Truth Social website, All Capitals, Trump said leaks from “a corrupt and highly political Manhattan District Attorney’s Office” indicate he will be “arrested on Tuesday of next week.”
The former president added: “Protest, take back our nation!”
Earlier, Trump claimed that ‘radical left anarchists stole our presidential election’ and asserted that ‘American patriots’ were being ‘held captive like animals’, in an apparent reference to those arrested during the January 6 unrest. .
A number of political commentators condemned Trump’s social media call for protests, with several suggesting it incited violence and making an explicit comparison to the January 6 unrest.
Philip Lewis, editor of HuffPost with more than 300,000 Twitter followers, tweeted: “‘Protest, take back our nation’ is not political talk. This is Trump calling for violence, and that’s clear.”
Jon Cooper, co-founder of anti-Trump Super PAC The Democratic Coalition, commented: “Trump knows his supporters. By calling on them to “Protest, take back our country!” he implicitly urges them to revolt in the streets.
“Trump is increasingly desperate. To save himself from the justice he fears, he is hoping for a repeat of Jan. 6 – but on a larger scale.
“This time, law enforcement must be fully prepared for the potential for violence from far-right extremists. THIS THREAT IS DEADLY SERIOUS.”
Grant Stern, editor of the left-leaning group Occupy Democrats, also compared the situation to January 6. He commented, “Will March 22 become another January 6? Now that Donald Trump has announced his impending arrest and called on his Ultra MAGA supporters to protest, it could happen. This time, no one will sleep on suspicion.
New York Times national correspondent Trip Gabriel added, “Rather than accepting the rule of law, Trump is calling for ‘take back our nation’ protests like he did before the Jan. 6 riot.”
Washington Post National columnist Philip Bump made a similar point, tweeting: “The things that made January 6 dangerous were a call to action and a time and place for that action to take place. It’s not just that Trump demands an answer again is that he tells people when.”
Ahmed Baba, chairman of ranttmedia, which claims to be fighting “authoritarianism”, said: “Trump is telling his supporters to protest and ‘take back our nation.’
Atlantic Columnist David Frum tweeted: “Trump is now trying to organize resistance to the alleged indictment. He and his supporters have proven on January 6, 2021 that they are willing to use violence to challenge the law.”
However, Professor Juliette Kayyem, a Harvard scholar who held a junior position in Barack Obama’s administration, argued that any protests would attract fewer people than Trump expected.
She commented: “Trump seeks more than protest and has always welcomed violence, of course, but it’s just as likely that scare tactics will have little effect. Trump is popular but can’t do everything. just won’t draw the crowds, who know he doesn’t get out of jail for free card anymore.”
Trump loyalist Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that if Trump is indicted “he’ll end up winning even more than he’s already winning.”
The House Republican added, “The base is fed up with Republicans failing to stand up for the people and against the Democrats’ war on Trump, his admin, his supporters and mainstream values.”
Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk also predicted that Trump’s arrest would boost his re-election chances, tweeting: “If this happens Trump will be re-elected in a landslide victory.”