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Dictator Trump--Part 5: There Will Be Blood In The Streets--Tiananmen Square-Style--If Trump Wins In 2024

Submitted by Robin Messing on Wed, 01/03/2024 - 6:31pm

As I mentioned in the introduction to this series of articles, I predicted that Donald Trump would be an existential threat to our democracy--and I made that prediction roughly two weeks before the 2016 election.

The previous articles in this series have set the stage for my new prediction: If Trump is elected in 2024, we will see at least one—and very possibly more—Tiananmen Square-style massacres on U.S. soil.

Trump And His Associates Have Claimed That As President, Trump Can Use Violence  With Impunity


Miles Taylor was a former chief of staff to Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump’s third Homeland Security Secretary. He was also a Republican until he left the party in frustration over its extremism in May 2022. He claims that he was in a meeting where Donald Trump said he wanted to shoot immigrants—including women and children—in the legs for entering the U.S. illegally. Watch 37:45 - 43:42 of this video.


Now some will dismiss Taylor’s claim as FAKE NEWS because he is part of the Trump-hating DEEP STATE. Unfortunately for them, Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, said something that tracks pretty closely to this. Esper claimed that Trump wanted to shoot Black Lives Matter protestors in the leg. The fact that both Taylor and Esper said he wanted to shoot people specifically in the legs adds credence to their claims.



Trump's Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffen also claims that she, along with several other White House officials heard Trump say he wanted to execute the person who had leaked a story about Trump hiding in the White House Bunker during the protests that errupted after George Floyd was murdered.

Note that Griffin's second tweet included a link to this story about Trump wanting to execute the White House staffer who leaked the story about his stay in the White House bunker during a BLM protest.

Griffin mentioned that Bill Barr was present when Trump expressed his desire to execute the leaker. Barr said he could not remember this incident, but did not dispute that it happened. He also admitted that Trump said he wanted to execute people on multiple occasions, though he downplayed its significance.


There are other hints that Trump would be willing to use violence against his enemies. Remember when Trump said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and wouldn't lose any voters? That wasn't just a throwaway line of rhetoric. Trump sent his lawyer, William Consovoy, into court to argue that Trump did not have to turn his tax returns over to Congress after Congress subpoenaed them. In the process of doing so, Consovoy tried to convince Judge Denny Chin that if Trump shot someone, he could not even be INVESTIGATED, much less prosecuted as long as he remained president.

Judge Chin: What’s your view on the 5th Avenue Example. Local Authorities couldn’t investigate. Couldn’t do anything about it?

Consovoy: I think once a president is removed from office, any local authorities. This is not a permanent immunity. (Emphasis added)

Judge Chin: Well, I’m talking about while in office.

Consovoy: No

Judge Chin: That’s the hypo—Nothing could be done? That’s your position:

Consovoy: That is correct. That is correct.

Watch this video to hear this exchange for yourself.


.John Sauer, another Trump lawyer, echoed Consovoy when he defended Trump before the Court of Appeals in the DC insurrection case.

In effect, Trump's lawyers argued that if Trump wins in 2024 and if he orders the assassination of Joe Biden, Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama, there is nothing we could do about it unless Congress first impeaches and convicts him. But if that's the case, then Trump could avoid being held accountable by ordering Seal Team 6 to assassinate all the members of Congress who would vote to impeach or convict him. If he stops the impeachment by killing anyone who would impeach him, he would gain immunity from prosecution and become an absolute dictator! Or at least Trump would become dictator until his second term as president was up and he had to leave office. Of course, Seal Team 6 would probably refuse such an unlawful order, but Trump could find someone else to do his bidding. Perhaps some seditious Oath Keepers or Proud Boys he would pardon. Or maybe Roger Stone could contract out the dirty work for him

And Sauer argued more recently before the Supreme Court that there were circumstances where even a former president should get immunity from prosecution for executing a political rival who he thought was corrupt. (Of course, Trump seems to think ANYONE who wants to hold him accountable is corrupt.)

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Now I think -- and -- and your answer below, I'm going to give you a chance to say if you stay by it. If the president decides that his rival is a corrupt person and he orders the military or orders someone to assassinate him, is that within his official acts for which he can get immunity?


MR. SAUER: It would depend on the hypothetical. We can see that could well be an official act.


And lest you think that Consovoy and Sauer were rogue lawyers when they asked for expanded immunity for Trump, let's see what Trump himself has to say.


There you have it: "ALL PRESIDENTS MUST HAVE COMPLETE & TOTAL PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY. . ." Trump's version of immunity from prosecution is even more extreme than what Consovoy and Sauer pleaded for in court. At least they admitted that there were some circumstances where a former president could be prosecuted. Trump would have none of that.

All this seems very theoretical. Unfortunately, Trump has close associates who are more than willing to use violence against those who would challenge Trump's power. Jeffrey Clark is co-conspirator number 4 in the DC case to overturn the election. There is a good chance Clark will be Trump’s Attorney General if Trump wins in 2024. And Trump's D.C. indictment claims that Clark approves using violence against protestors.

81. On the afternoon of January 3, Co-Conspirator 4 spoke with a Deputy White House Counsel. The previous month, the Deputy White House Counsel had informed the Defendant that "there is no world, there is no option in which you do not leave the White House [o]n January 20th." Now, the same Deputy White House Counsel tried to dissuade Co-Conspirator 4 from assuming the role of Acting Attorney General. The Deputy White House Counsel reiterated to Co-Conspirator 4 that there had not been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that if the Defendant remained in office nonetheless, there would be "riots in every major city in the United States." Co-Conspirator 4 responded, "Well, [Deputy White House Counsel], that's why there's an Insurrection Act."

John Eastman (Co-conspirator number 2) also expressed his support for violence in the street when people would inevitably protest Trump’s illegitimate power grab from Joe Biden. This too is from Trump’s D.C. indictment.

94. Also on January 4, when Co-Conspirator 2 acknowledged to the Defendant's Senior Advisor that no court would support his proposal, the Senior Advisor told Co-Conspirator 2, "[Y]ou're going to cause riots in the streets." Co-Conspirator 2 responded that there had previously been points in the nation's history where violence was necessary to protect the republic. After that conversation, the Senior Advisor notified the Defendant that Co-Conspirator 2 had conceded that his plan was "not going to work."

These statements alarmed Kevin Carroll, who served as John Kelly’s senior counsel when Kelly was head of Homeland Security. If Trump’s coup had been successful, he would have forced military leaders to choose between disobeying their civilian commander and shooting at American protestors. Read about Carroll’s assessment here

Or watch Carroll express his alarm in this video.



Kevin Carroll's Fear That Trump Would Use The Military  Against Civilians Is Justified


Donald Trump has plans to use our military for domestic policing. And this, as Carroll pointed out, puts officers in the military in an untenable position. The AP reports:

Calling New York City and Chicago “crime dens,” the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination told his audience, “The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he said. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”


Trump has not spelled out precisely how he might use the military during a second term, although he and his advisers have suggested they would have wide latitude to call up units. While deploying the military regularly within the country’s borders would be a departure from tradition, the former president already has signaled an aggressive agenda if he wins, from mass deportations to travel bans imposed on certain Muslim-majority countries. . . .

The Insurrection Act allows presidents to call on reserve or active-duty military units to respond to unrest in the states, an authority that is not reviewable by the courts. One of its few guardrails merely requires the president to request that the participants disperse.

“The principal constraint on the president’s use of the Insurrection Act is basically political, that presidents don’t want to be the guy who sent tanks rolling down Main Street,” said Joseph Nunn, a national security expert with the Brennan Center for Justice. “There’s not much really in the law to stay the president’s hand.” . . .

Trump already has suggested he might bring back retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as Trump’s national security adviser and twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its Russian influence probe before being pardoned by Trump. Flynn suggested in the aftermath of the 2020 election that Trump could seize voting machines and order the military in some states to help rerun the election.

Attempts to invoke the Insurrection Act and use the military for domestic policing would likely elicit pushback from the Pentagon, where the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is Gen. Charles Q. Brown. He was one of the eight members of the Joint Chiefs who signed a memo to military personnel in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The memo emphasized the oaths they took and called the events of that day, which were intended to stop certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, “sedition and insurrection.” . . .

Repeated attempts to invoke the act in a new Trump presidency could put pressure on military leaders, who could face consequences for their actions even if done at the direction of the president.

Michael O’Hanlon, director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution think tank, said the question is whether the military is being imaginative enough with the scenarios it has been presenting to future officers. Ambiguity, especially when force is involved, is not something military personnel are comfortable with, he said.

“There are a lot of institutional checks and balances in our country that are pretty well-developed legally, and it’ll make it hard for a president to just do something randomly out of the blue,” said O’Hanlon, who specializes in U.S. defense strategy and the use of military force. “But Trump is good at developing a semi-logical train of thought that might lead to a place where there’s enough mayhem, there’s enough violence and legal murkiness” to call in the military.  . .

William Banks, a Syracuse University law professor and expert in national security law, said a military officer is not forced to follow “unlawful orders.” That could create a difficult situation for leaders whose units are called on for domestic policing, since they can face charges for taking unlawful actions.

“But there is a big thumb on the scale in favor of the president’s interpretation of whether the order is lawful,” Banks said. “You’d have a really big row to hoe and you would have a big fuss inside the military if you chose not to follow a presidential order.”

Nunn, who has suggested steps to restrict the invocation of the law, said military personnel cannot be ordered to break the law.

“Members of the military are legally obliged to disobey an unlawful order. At the same time, that is a lot to ask of the military because they are also obliged to obey orders,” he said. “And the punishment for disobeying an order that turns out to be lawful is your career is over, and you may well be going to jail for a very long time. The stakes for them are extraordinarily high.”


This might not be a problem if Trump was a universally loved president who would use the military judiciously to enforce the law. But Trump is among the most divisive presidents in history, and we are likely to see protests that get out of  hand during his next term. And I don't just mean protests over the usual issues of abortion, racism, LGBTQ rights, and police brutality. We could see protests against mass deportations and competing protests over a war with Mexico as well. More on that in my next column.


Trump Praises Dictators Who Use Violence To Maintain Power

Trump's praise of foreign dictators gives us even more evidence that Trump would be willing to use violence against his enemies. Trump bad-mouthed the United States in order to excuse Putin’s murdering his political enemies. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan saying this?



Trump has praised Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, and Vladimir Putin. He seemed to admire Kim Jong Un’s “total dominant control.” These are not exactly the type of people I would praise, but your mileage may vary.



This is not the only time he has praised Xi. He also praised Xi's brilliance in September 2022 for running a country of 1.5 billion people with an iron fist.

Think of President Xi. Central casting, brilliant guy. You know, when I say he’s brilliant, everyone says, ‘Oh that’s terrible,'” said Trump during the event. “Well, he runs 1.4 billion people with an iron fist. Smart, brilliant, everything perfect. There’s nobody in Hollywood like this guy. I got them to pay us $28 billion because they screwed our farmers for years.

And Trump praised Xi Jinping for becoming President for life by saying, "Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday." Is it just me, or does Trump seem a bit jealous of Xi's power?



Violence Or The Threat Of Violence Associated With Trump Is Nothing New.

It Is Just More Dangerous Now.

My call in 2016 that Trump would be an existential threat to democracy was an easy one—especially after he issued what could be interpreted as a veiled threat against Hillary Clinton and the judges she would appoint.

If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.


This was not the only time in 2016 when Trump did something that looked like incitement of violence. Who can forget the time that Trump said he wanted to punch a protester at one of his rallies in the face because, he claimed, the protester was hitting others? 



I have found no evidence that the protester that Trump wanted to punch in the face was hitting anyone. If anything, the opposite is true. Politico's reporting called Trump's claim into question.


Trump said the protester had been “throwing punches.” By the time a POLITICO reporter spotted the protester being led from the floor of South Point Arena by security personnel, the man was not throwing punches.


According to multiple South Point security personnel, the man did not throw any punches. Trump “was just over-exaggerating,” said one security guard, who asked that his name not be used.


Now, even if we were to believe that a Democratic trouble-maker had infiltrated Trump's rally and instigated the violence, that still does not explain away the threats of violence associated with Trumpism in 2016. Dan Scavino, the Trump campaign's Director of Social Media, incited Trump's base against other REPUBLICAN candidates who were competing against Trump for the GOP nomination.



And by April 10, 2016, Roger Stone's website was accusing Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell of colluding to steal the Republican nomination from Donald Trump. 



Though they did not call for violence, it was inevitable and foreseeable that at least a few members of Trump's base would not react to the prospect of the election being stolen from them peacefully. By April 20, Republican delegates who supported candidates running against Trump were facing a barrage of death threats from Trump's supporters. Politico reports:

First it was an email warning Steve House, the Colorado GOP chairman, to hide his family members and “pray you make it to Cleveland.” Then there was the angry man who called his cellphone and told him to put a gun down his throat.


“He said, ‘I’ll call back in two minutes, and if you’re still there, I’ll come over and help you,’” House recalled.

Since Donald Trump came up empty in his quest for delegates at the Republican state assembly in Colorado Springs nearly two weeks ago, his angry supporters have responded to Trump’s own claims of a “rigged” nomination process by lashing out at Republican National Committee delegates that they believe won’t support Trump at the party’s convention — including House. . . .

In hotel hallways and across dinner tables, many party leaders attending this week’s meetings shared similar stories. One party chairman says a Trump supporter recently got in his face and promised “bloodshed” if Trump doesn’t win the GOP presidential nomination. An Indiana delegate who criticized Trump received a note warning against “traditional burial” that ended with, “We are watching you.”


I've written enough about the threats of violence incited by Trump in his associates in 2016. I'll just let Ted Cruz get the last word on this subject.



Alarms were ringing in 2016 that Trump would be a threat to our democracy.  In 2023, those alarms have turned into air raid sirens.

Update 1/18/24: I added a few paragraphs about Trump's lawyer, John Sauer, who argued in court that Trump could order Seal Team 6 to assassinate his political rival and could not be held accountable unless Congress impeached and convicted him.

Update 3/19/24: Trump praised yet another autocratic leader when Viktor Orban visited Mar-a-Lago recently.

There’s nobody that’s better, smarter, or a better leader than Viktor Orban. He’s fantastic. As you know, the prime minister of Hungary, and does a great job. He’s a non-controversial figure, because he says, “This is the way it’s going to be, and that’s the end of it.” Right? He’s the Boss. He’s a great leader.

Watch, starting at 1:19.


Update 4/27/24: I included recent posts by Alyssa Farah Griffin stating that Trump wanted a White House leaker executed. I also included John Sauer's argument before the Supreme Court that there are circumstances where a president should be immune from prosecution for executing a political rival.


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Trump Will Become a Dictator--Introduction/Table of Contents