Trump’s Rhetoric Grows More Violent

An analysis of former President Trump’s recent rhetoric and social media posts reveals an even deeper slide into potential violence.

Trump Promises Retribution

For months now, Trump has been telling his supporters that he’s their retribution — that a second term would see the former president rain vengeance on their political enemies. But a recent survey of Trump’s remarks has revealed that Trump isn’t waiting until the election to stoke the flames of violence.

Trump Ramps Up Violent Rhetoric

As NBC reported, in a recent California speech, Trump called on shoplifters to be shot on sight. This was a week after Trump hypothesized that outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Miley earned the death penalty for treasonous acts committed in the final weeks of Trump’s term.

The reason? A call Miley made to his Chinese counterpart to offer reassurance that the Trump administration wasn’t planning an attack on China. In fact, the death penalty has been making repeated appearances in Trump’s speeches as of late as he’s called for the execution of drug dealers.

And, to top it all off, Trump’s California speech featured a “joke” about Paul Pelosi, the husband of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was attacked by a hammer-wielding Trump supporter in January 2023. “How’s her husband doing, by the way, anybody know?” Trump asked. 

Trump Defiant in Court

For the most part, Trump’s comments have come with no consequences. Prior to the start of his business fraud trial on Monday, October 2nd, Trump called New York Attorney General Lettia James, who is Black, “Racist,” and accused her of being, “rogue” and “out of control”.

Although, when Trump directed his ire toward Judge Arthur Engoron and his staff, Judge Engoron ordered a narrow gag order forbidding Trump from speaking publicly about members of the Judge’s staff. Breaking the gag order would result in serious sanctions.

Additionally, Special Counsel Jack Smith is seeking a gag order against Trump in the election interference case. 

Trump’s Comments Excused

Many of Trump’s comments can be excused as, “Trump just being Trump.” The violence, after all, is mixed in with bizarre tangents. At a recent Iowa campaign event, for example, the former President mused that, given the choice, he’d rather die of electrocution than be eaten by a shark.

Gaffs also punctuate Trump’s appearances. While giving a stump speech in South Carolina, Trump mixed up Jeb and George W. Bush. But some Trump supporters seem to cheer the violent references.  

Trump Supporters Cheer Violence

When Trump brought up Paul Pelosi, the audience erupted in laughter and applause. NBC found Trump supporters who affirmed that General Milley should be subjected to the death penalty. “Why was he not in there before a firing squad within a month?” asked supporter Cynthia Yockey.

“Treason is treason,” said Vicky Enseminger, another Trump supporter, adding, “There’s only one cure for treason: being put to death.” In fact, most Trump supporters who spoke with NBC excused or celebrated Trump’s calls to violence.

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