‘I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump’

The President's latest ravings are "very bad, very bad."

Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief, Toronto Star (“Trump issues warning to opponents: ‘It would be very bad’ if his military, police and biker supporters got ‘tough’“):

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned his political opponents of the possibility that they could eventually be confronted by armed Trump supporters in and out of uniform, telling a right-wing website on Monday that “it would be very bad, very bad” if his backers in the military, police and a motorcycle group were provoked into getting “tough.”

Trump uttered the remark in an interview with Breitbart News, a right-wing website that supports him. It came, according to Breitbart, as Trump was arguing that “the left” plays politics in a “tougher” and more “vicious” manner than the pro-Trump right even though “the tough people” are on Trump’s side.

That’s the entirety of Dale’s report unless perhaps more is available to subscribers. While the President’s quote is making the rounds of my Twitter feed, it hasn’t hit the front of the WaPo or NYT websites as of this writing.

The Breitbart story (“Exclusive — President Donald Trump: Paul Ryan Blocked Subpoenas of Democrats“) doesn’t lead with the quote but gives a bit more context:

President Donald Trump is not happy that former House Speaker Paul Ryan blocked subpoenas of people and entities Trump thinks the House GOP should have been investigating during the first two years of his administration.

Trump told Breitbart News in an exclusive lengthy Oval Office interview that Ryan blocked issuance of subpoenas to people he thinks should have been investigated on the political left, and now that the Republicans no longer have the majority in the House, people Trump says Ryan protected may have gotten away with whatever they did that warranted investigation.

Trump said that House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and his predecessor and fellow conservative Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wanted to be tougher with the left, but that Ryan would not let them.

“Paul Ryan wouldn’t give the right to have any subpoenas,” Trump told Breitbart News. “Okay? Now in all fairness, Meadows and Jordan and all these guys, they wanted to go tougher, but they weren’t allowed to by leadership.”

Trump’s comments came in a wider part of the conversation about how the left is more “vicious” than the right—and that the left in American politics plays “cuter and tougher.”

“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump said when asked by Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle about how the left is fighting hard. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? 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. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is -you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”

These are ravings suitable for a tinpot dictator, not the chief executive of a representative democracy. It’s sheer lunacy to think that the Speaker of the House would issue subpoenas against random political opponents of the President. That Ryan rightly refused is to his credit, although one can reasonably wonder why he didn’t bring the demands to public attention.

Trump’s reference to having “the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump” in conjunction with a suggestion to “play it tougher” can certainly be perceived as a call for violent action. More likely, though, it’s just a the rantings of someone who wants to appear “tough” who has no idea what toughness actually entails. Still, to quote Candidate Trump, it’s sad.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Donald Trump
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    “The FoxNation Paratroop brigade took heavy casualties today, when all 200 paratroopers broke their hips upon landing. Exfiltration efforts are underway by the 31st Mounted Rascal Scooter Division.

    In other developments, liberal saboteurs have damaged the Trump forces’ supply lines, detonating several tanker cars full of Ensure that were headed to the front lines.”

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  2. reid says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Probably where Trump got the idea.

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  3. Franklin says:

    I’d guess another prime Trump demographic is people with roid rage. Don’t make them angry.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Please…let’s be honest about what this is.
    The POTUS is threatening to use the military, law enforcement, and thugs, against Democrats who exercise their Constitutional duties.
    Something probably ought to be done…you know…besides just
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  5. Slugger says:

    Motorcycles nowadays are ridden by retired fogeys which is why HarleyDavidson sales have been dropping, and my first reaction to these remarks were to be amused. However, on reflection I find that threats of extrajudicial violence from the President are totally unacceptable, unAmerican, and deserve condemnation by all who love the USA.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Slugger:

    Motorcycles nowadays are ridden by retired fogeys

    Someone on Twitter said the only way he’d be afraid of “Bikers for Trump” is if he somehow got between them and the buffet line at Golden Corral.

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  7. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger:

    and deserve condemnation by all who love the USA.

    I’m in. How many GOP Congress critters do you think will join us?

  8. Teve says:

    I posted this link a couple of hours ago in a different thread, but it’s much more relevant here: Matt Yglesias’s essay about how he thinks a coup is inevitable, and sooner rather than later.

    American democracy is doomed..

  9. Kit says:

    Chilling

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  10. Joe says:

    That Ryan rightly refused is to his credit, although one can reasonably wonder why he didn’t bring the demands to public attention.

    Not to undermine the possibility that Ryan really did shut these down, the other simple possibility is that there never were any subpoenas or that even Meadows and Jordan refused to pursue them.

  11. Not the IT Dept. says:

    The kindest thing you can say about him re this is that he’s nuts.

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Remember all the times other Presidents have said they were going to make sure that the military and the cops would take care of any Congress people who exercised their Constitutional duty?
    Yeah…it’s never happened before.

  13. JohnMcC says:

    Probably redundant but not yet mentioned in the comment thread is a reference to the Coastie Lt slash prepper slash Trumpist commando. Checks off two of those boxes. Maybe the President knows what he’s talkin’ about, eh?

  14. Kit says:

    @Teve: Great article. I regret to say that I’ve been thinking along those lines since Gingrich and Co started gleefully taking sledge hammers to the foundations of the country.

    I’d feel reassured if the military and police departments across the country rushed to condemn this (biker gangs get to vote their conscience). I expect crickets.

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  15. Chip Daniels says:

    @Franklin:

    prime Trump demographic is people with roid rage

    Pfft. Some Preparation H, and they will calm right down.

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  16. Teve says:

    @Kit: I had Yglesias muted on Twitter for some reason that I don’t even remember. Probably because he can just be fucking annoying. But I’m reading this essay a couple of times, line by line, to try to figure out if he’s really on to something there.

    We’ve been a center-left country ruled by a center-right establishment for decades. I’m fairly liberal, my friends in their 30s are more liberal, and my friends in their 20s Way more liberal, so I kind of expected politics would slowly catch up with that. What a coup would look like I honestly have no idea.

  17. merl says:

    @Joe: I agree, Donald just pulled that out of his ass.

  18. Mister Bluster says:
  19. Teve says:

    President Donald Trump is not happy that former House Speaker Paul Ryan blocked subpoenas of people and entities Trump thinks the House GOP should have been investigating during the first two years of his administration.

    didn’t Lindsey Graham say he was going to keep investigating Hillary Clinton for emails or Benghazi or something? is he still going to do that? Or are they just going to make AOC the new Hillary?

  20. CSK says:

    This news hasn’t, apparently, filtered down to the warriors at Lucianne.com yet, but when it does…oh, boy. They’ve been stocking up on the arms ‘n’ ammo since Obama took office. They are locked, loaded, and ready to fight Civil War redux. And defend Donald Trump, the greatest president in U.S. history.

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  21. Teve says:

    FACT: the same year that Benghazi happened, AOC was keeping ALL of her emails on a non-government-secure server. The NYT refuses to mention that.

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  22. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    What a coup would look like I honestly have no idea.

    I don’t pretend to know, but I’d be willing to place a small wager that a Donald Trump, on the eve of a losing re-election campaign and facing certain incarceration, would be willing to roll the dice. Where would today’s Joe Republican draw the line? Where would traditionally conservative organisations such as the police and military draw the line? Not officially but the rank and file? And how does even a fizzled coup reset expectations?

    Momentum has been moving in this direction for the past generation. Assuming that Trump is the high-water mark assumes facts not in evidence.

  23. Teve says:

    @Kit: last week the guys on Pod Save America were talking about what would have to happen for Trump to illegally remain in power. They suggested it was very unlikely because he would need so much support from Capitol Police and the Secret Service, maybe US Marshalls, etc. A lot of people on the ground would have to take his side. The PSA guys thought this would be extremely unlikely even for a very popular president, which Trump definitely is not.

    Me, I have no idea, I’m just pondering all this.

  24. Teve says:

    Wonkette wins headline of the day:

    Donald Trump Threatens Biker Gang-Led Civil War, So That’s Cool And Normal

    Robyn Pennacchia March. 14, 2019 04:10

  25. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    The PSA guys thought this would be extremely unlikely even for a very popular president, which Trump definitely is not.

    My gut says that it’s not a question of being very popular but rather inspiring exceptional enthusiasm. And like I said, even a failed coup resets the baseline, gets people taking.

    I don’t think that this anti-vax nonsense could have gained any traction before today’s social networks allowed wackos to know they were not alone. Imagine Trump loses his re-election, calls for a coup, finds a couple of martyrs, then goes to prison. A newly installed president tries to clean house. Half the country is told by Fox that it is under attack. The heavily armed half.

    That’s obviously not a deeply considered opinion, simply what seems possible to me.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I don’t think that this anti-vax nonsense could have gained any traction before today’s social networks allowed wackos to know they were not alone.

    O, but…Alas, it’s not just wackos anymore either. It’s city council members in counties that go 69% Trump/GOP and claim to have done “research.”

    ETA: The first comment in the article’s on line thread: “Is sanity breaking out in the PNW? Someone is going to stop adding industrial waste to their drinking water? “

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:
    Off and on I’ve run a little scenario in my head on what would happen if the militia, sovereign citizen types crawled out of their holes and took on the police and Nat’l Guard. It would be ugly as in bloody ugly. My money is on the cops and guard.

  28. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I have a friend who is a PhD virologist at a top 50 research university. Believe me when I tell you I have literally seen randos on Facebook order her to Do Some Research!!!! when they babbled gibberish at her and she corrected them.

    And when they accuse her of being a $hill for Big Pharma / Monsanto/ whatever, she sometimes just replies with photos of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc. 🙂

  29. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Someone is going to stop adding industrial waste to their drinking water? “

    that’s anti-flouride nonsense, which already holds sway in Oregon if memory serves.

  30. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Mine too. Trump’s fast losing popularity with the military. And in my state, which is overwhelmingly blue, I can’t see the state or municipal police gearing up to shoot the people who pay their salaries.

  31. rachel says:

    I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump

    One of these things really ought not to be like the others.

  32. Teve says:

    @rachel: you’re concerned with legitimacy, Trump’s just concerned with force and violence.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    He couldn’t pull of a coup so much as a secession. There’s too much power vested in states, in National Guards, in US Army units at widespread bases and abroad, with NSA and GCHQ and every intel agency watching, there is zero chance this cretin could even begin to organize anything remotely effective. Too little power and too small a brain.

    Now a secession, sure. He could go down to Alabama and get them interested in Civil War 2, but that’d go even worse than the first time. Plus Wal-Mart simply won’t allow it.

    It would be hellishly difficult to even get to the edges of coup planning in this country. Does anyone really think the Trump clown college could organize it? Who, Jared? From a White House that leaks so badly it rebuts itself in real time?

  34. dazedandconfused says:

    Another layer of bizarre on this is the Bikers For Trump have never appeared to be anything like the “1%” sort of bikers. Quite the opposite, in fact. The head guy Chris Cox was an advance guy for Quayle and they have taken pains to present a totally benign image of themselves.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/full-throttle-bikers-for-trump-has-big-plans

    Trump thinks these are tough guys on the verge of killing people for him?

    Well said, Mr. Joyner: Sad.

  35. Monala says:

    … and the support of white supremacist terrorists in New Zealand.

  36. al Ameda says:

    @Teve:

    FACT: the same year that Benghazi happened, AOC was keeping ALL of her emails on a non-government-secure server. The NYT refuses to mention that.

    I know, right? I’ve passed this along to Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa and Lindsey Graham.