Pro-Trump Rioting Prospects Dim

Calls for violence have been widespread but are unlikely to be heeded.

Some mixed messaging on the fallout from the pending indictment of former President Donald Trump. At the one extreme, we have this:

Vice (“The Far Right Is Calling For Bloody ‘Civil War’ After Trump’s Indictment”):

Minutes after former President Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in New York, his supporters flooded social media and extremist message boards with violent and racist threats against the officials prosecuting Trump, as well as bloody civil war.

“This cannot go unpunished,” one member of the rabidly pro-Trump message board The Donald wrote on Thursday night. “The DA needs to pay dearly.”

“None of this will stop unless there is blood in the streets,” another poster wrote.

In Trump’s own statement, the former president called the indictment a “political persecution” and referred to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as “hand-picked and funded by George Soros,” and stated that Bragg is “doing Joe Biden’s dirty work.”

His far-right supporters mobilized quickly online to echo these comments. Through their vitriol, and calls for war, some supporters also promoted a narrative where Trump’s indictment was actually going to help him win victory in 2024. In some cases, supporters falsely said the indictment was simply a ruse to distract everyone from the shooter in Nashville earlier this week.

“The whole trans terrorist thing must have been polling badly so they decided to indict Trump based on the testimony of a lying jew and lying whore,” one influential neo-Nazi account on Telegram wrote, alongside an AI-generated image of a tattooed, topless Trump in a prison yard.

[…]

There were also many users calling for civil war on the platform. “Yeah. I’m down with just getting 1776 round 2 over with. The build up is infuriating,’ one user wrote in response to the news, while another added: “They want you pissed. Looks like WW3 could be off the table for now, so onto plan B: civil war.”

Some users laid out more detailed plans, discussing militias and boycotts and tax avoidance, while another simply wrote: “War.” 

The threats of violence, found on a wide variety of platforms ranging from Trump’s own Truth Social to more mainstream platforms like Twitter, notorious message board 4chan, and The Donald, were located by VICE News and researchers from Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan group that tracks extremists online. And though there are no specific plans detailed right now, users on The Donald played a significant role in the planning, incitement, and coordination of violent events on January 6, 2021.

It’s also not just anonymous users on fringe message boards who are using incendiary language to incite anger about Trump’s indictment. 

“The political Rubicon has been crossed. There’s no going back from this,” Charlie Kirk, a right-wing talk show host, wrote on Truth Social. One of Kirk’s followers responded writing: “There is only one way back & that is WAR!”

Also on Truth Social, Pizzagate conspiracist, right-wing troll and organizer of the Stop the Steal movement, Jack Posobiec simply wrote: “Are you ready” to which many followers replied: “Let’s go.”

At the other extreme, we see reports like this from the NYT (“For Some G.O.P. Voters, Fatigue Slows the Rush to Defend Trump“):

Republican officials almost unanimously rallied around Donald J. Trump after his indictment, but the actual G.O.P. voters who will render a verdict on his political future next year weren’t nearly as solidly behind him.

Some previous Trump voters said the indictment, the first ever of a former president, was the latest shattering of norms in a ledger already stuffed with chaos from the Trump years, and it was time for their party to move on in seeking a 2024 nominee.

In Hawthorne, N.Y., Scott Gray, a land surveyor who voted for Mr. Trump in two elections, said he had wearied of him.

“I think he did a lot of things right,” Mr. Gray said, then immediately darted in the other direction: “I think he’s completely unpresidential. I can’t believe he’s still running for office.”

As an alternative, Mr. Gray said he was interested in “that guy down in Florida who’s governor — DeSantis.” (Ron DeSantis, who is expected to run but has not yet announced a campaign, is Mr. Trump’s closest rival for the G.O.P. nomination in recent polling of primary voters.)

In conversations with Republican-leaning voters around the country, Mr. Trump’s indictment brought out much anger, occasional embarrassment and a swirl of contradictory reactions, not unlike every other twist in the yearslong high drama of Donald Trump.

As expected, many rallied around the former president, calling the indictment by a Democratic prosecutor in New York a sham — a provocation they said would only cement their allegiance to Mr. Trump, who for years has encouraged supporters to see attacks on him as also attacks on them.

Somewhere in the middle we get reports like this from NBC News (“Online threats of violence but few signs of far-right organizing around Trump indictment“):

Minutes after news broke of former President Donald Trump’s indictment, a comment on the pro-Trump internet forum Patriots.win, also known as TheDonald, skyrocketed to the top of the message board.



“****ACCELERATE,” the comment, written by a user named TheSpeakerfortheDead, reads in its entirety.

Below that user, others quickly piled on, saying the grand jury that indicted Trump is “guilty of treason” and that their personal information should be made public.

The word “accelerate” is a reference to the far-right term accelerationism, the idea that the state must be abolished, usually violently, and replaced with a new one.

It’s one of a variety of comments posted online in far-right forums in the aftermath of Trump’s indictment. Many of those forums commonly host violent rhetoric, and some were integral in planning around the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

While there is little evidence of similar planning for real-world unrest just yet, extremism researchers are keeping a close eye on the varied calls for everything from targeted attacks on the district attorney who brought the case to a new civil war.

“Accelerationism is a concept on the far right that’s defined by a cynicism and disbelief in the legitimacy of the democratic process or in functions of government,” said Jared Holt, a researcher at the extremism studies nonprofit Institute for Strategic Dialogue. 
“Subscribers to it suggest as a solution a series of actions that are often violent, and meant to compromise or hasten what they believe to be unavoidable collapse of that system.”

Holt said the term was used earlier in the decade to describe white supremacist extremist groups like Atomwaffen, who frequently agitate for and commit acts of violence. Some users on pro-Trump forums have begun to embrace the nomenclature as more and more radical and violent rhetoric has seeded into their space.

“The hope is that by advocating for the destruction of those systems or for the destabilizing of society — whether it’s through mass violence or purposeful misinformation — by playing a role in the collapse that they would also cement a position for themselves when they’re rebuilding it in their own image,” Holt he said.

Prior to the Capitol Riots, it was easy to dismiss the extreme rhetoric as posturing from the Keyboard Commandos. Now, we know violence is possible.

Still, one thing is very different: Trump is no longer President and in a position to pardon people for their crimes, much less potentially order law enforcement or military personnel to take his side. (Not that they were going to do so in any significant number even then; but it was easier to hold that delusion when he was Commander-in-Chief.)

Also, it doesn’t help when we get reports like Raw Story‘s “‘Smash some windows’: Lindsey Graham makes bizarre suggestions for Trump in face of indictment” and HuffPo‘s “Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump ‘Punch A Cop’ On The Way To Tuesday’s Arraignment.” As pathetic as Graham’s continued sucking up to the MAGA crowd is, he’s rather clearly drawing an absurd contrast to the riots related to the Black Lives Matter protests rather than calling for violence.

FILED UNDER: Crime, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am not as forgiving of Lindsey Graham and his politics of cowardice as you are James.

    23
  2. wr says:

    What a bunch of creeps and losers. All these years of tough talk, and now that their moment is here is “We need war — you guys go out and start something while I wait here in reserve.”

    9
  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The risk of violence emanates from the lone wolf or 2-3 individuals high on their own supply, the rest is just bluster.

    On a personal level, trumps most boisterous and angry supporters have a lot to lose if they engage in political violence and the daily drip of news reports about the trials, convictions and sentences for the 1/6 rioters is sobering. There is a realization that arrest and trial is expensive, even if they beat the charges, and more so if convicted. And for what and who?

    7
  4. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh, I’m not at all forgiving. I’ve lost all respect for him. But he’s not calling for violence; he’s making a false (in many ways) equivalence.

    3
  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    He should flee. His plane’s a 757. @Kathy could tell us how far he can go without refueling. Dubai? Moscow?

    He must at some level realize he’s done for. If he submits to arrest it will not help him politically, I think that’s a fantasy. If he submits he submits. MAGAts want rage not submission.

    6
  6. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I mentioned here a couple of years ago that these people ain’t about that life…

    War and unrest require Young D energy. Geriatric, blue pill D energy will only get you to keyboard patriot and FJB flag level.

    I could literally stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and live stream JimBrown 32 whipping Trump with a Biden-Harris ‘24 belt….and his people won’t/ wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.

    It’s only going to get worse for Trump and these people are going to do a flawless, Homer Simpson, slide into the hedges impersonation…they can’t do anything else because they aren’t built for direct confrontation and certainly not conflict escalation.

    10
  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I could literally stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and live stream JimBrown 32 whipping Trump with a Biden-Harris ‘24 belt….and his people won’t/ wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.

    I realize this is somewhat unlikely. However, should the opportunity ever arise, I’ll pitch in for bail.

    22
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: I’m just pointing out that focusing on that Raw Story story is basically cherry picking where as I am looking at the whole fruit salad of everything he has done and said and will continue to do and say. For now.

    I think you are being too kind to him by doing that.

    1
  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    This “accelerationism” business sounds to me like Russian agitprop. Putin is the guy who said he thought democracy’s time has come and gone.

    1
  10. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It depends on the exact model (-200 or -300), and the empty weight in its current configuration. But between 6,500 and 7,600 kilometers. That’s about 2,000 km short of Moscow. Dubai is farther away. He probably couldn’t make it to Budapest, either.

    His best bet is to demand a long range private jet, like a Bombardier Global 7500 or 8000, from one of his many, many dear donors with much more money than sense.

    5
  11. al Ameda says:

    “Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump ‘Punch A Cop’ On The Way To Tuesday’s Arraignment.”

    Maybe it’s too early to say, but …
    I believe that Trump’s legacy will be that he really brought out the best in people.

    5
  12. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The risk of violence emanates from the lone wolf or 2-3 individuals high on their own supply, the rest is just bluster.

    Murrah was not just Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, McVeigh made many phone calls in the leadup to a group called “Christian Identity.”

    3
  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    The word “accelerate” is a reference to the far-right term accelerationism

    I believe that “accelerationism” originally comes from ML circles. One of the big ironies is that for all their complaining about Marxism, the modern Republican Party has a fundamentally Leninist worldview, the only difference being that when the (in their minds) inevitable class war comes, they plan to fight on the other side.

    5
  14. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He’s going to submit to arrest because if he tries to resist, when he inevitably does get arrested, having already been a fugitive once pretty much guarantees you’ll be denied bail.

    4
  15. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Kathy:

    In a 757 he might be able to get to Switzerland from Florida without refueling. Switzerland has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

  16. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    image of a tattooed, topless Trump in a prison yard.

    Oh dawg, now I’ve got to go to Costco and buy the industrial pallet of brain floss and try to get that image out of my mind. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment…for the other inmates in the yard.

    2
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    In the months before his crucifixion, Jesus was drawing very large crowds. When he was arrested Peter chopped off a dude’s ear with a sword. But the other apostles all whistled and looked away, and the crowds didn’t show up. Messiahs are not supposed to be vulnerable.

    The MAGAts will be outraged, but they’re perpetually outraged. The non-MAGA rump of the GOP would love to see Trump in prison and out of their election calculus. The whole show will steal DeSantis’s spotlight. This should be fun.

    1
  18. gVOR08 says:

    Very good, James. That headline word “dim” seems so entirely appropriate in this context.

  19. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Nah, Venezuela’s closer, and winters are warmer. Besides, only losers run, and he’s the biggest winner ever. Many people say that.

    1
  20. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Yeah, but Venezuela is collapsing, isn’t it?

  21. Kurtz says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    This “accelerationism” business sounds to me like Russian agitprop. Putin is the guy who said he thought democracy’s time has come and gone.

    Whether Russia leverages the existence of accelerationism is one thing, but it isn’t a new idea. Stormy Dragon is correct, at least to the extent that many of the ideas that inspired contemporary accelerationist thinkers were formulated by critical theorists and Post-Marxists.

    It’s a bit like current conceptions of anarchism and libertarianism tend to be viewed as right-wing movements* but they owe a sizable debt to thinkers who were firmly on the Left.** There are LW accelerationists, but like those two examples, they are outnumbered and/or out-voiced by the those on the fringe right.

    *Perhaps more accurately, RW variants have been occupied and developed by those who held some firmly RW ideas even if those were not necessarily the animating principles.

    **The contemporary thinker who has the widest recognition is probably Curtis Yarvin aka Mencius Moldbug. But Nick Land and Mark Fisher predate him and laid the groundwork for their ideas. In those writings, you will find references to a bunch of thinkers thought of as Leftist such as members of the Frankfurt School, Marx, Deleuze and Guatarri, and Adorno.

    3
  22. Argon says:

    Breaking news: FOX News no longer supporting Trump against the indictment. “We’re through with that” from a joint statement of Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

    2
  23. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Argon:

    Bwa haha hahahaha hahahahahaha.

    Stop, please. No more. No seriously, I can’t breathe. Besides, giggling Luddites look ludicrous.

    2
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Pity Bolsonaro lost, or Trump could have fled to Brazil.

    2
  25. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I was thinking the same thing.

    1
  26. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    War and unrest require Young D energy. Geriatric, blue pill D energy will only get you to keyboard patriot and FJB flag level.

    You’re underestimating Proud Boys, III%ers and other Nazis and White Nationalists.

    They can cause a lot of problems if motivated. I don’t think financial crimes from paying off a porn star and charging that to the business quite has the same motivating quality as screams of “stolen election” so in a lot of ways I think we are lucky the NY case is first.

    I could literally stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and live stream JimBrown 32 whipping Trump with a Biden-Harris ‘24 belt….and his people won’t/ wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.

    I think a black dude assaulting Cuck L’Orange would motivate them.

    But if you prove me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it.

    3
  27. JKB says:

    Yes, the FBI and other provocateurs have been busy. Okay, likely also to be from plain old Progressive or “right-wing” rabble-rousers.

    My response is, why “protest” in the heart of enemy territory? Or go hat and hand like these are actions by a legitimate government. But people should take time to grieve, and maybe go fishing. The DEI staff can pick up the slack.

  28. Kathy says:

    I sometimes wonder whether some people are naturally stupid, or they need to practice every day.

    10
  29. Scott F. says:

    Prior to the Capitol Riots, it was easy to dismiss the extreme rhetoric as posturing from the Keyboard Commandos. Now, we know violence is possible.

    Still, one thing is very different: Trump is no longer President and in a position to pardon people for their crimes…

    The J6 rioters thought Trump would be going over to the Capitol with them. He’d just told them he would. They thought they’d be following Their President into battle.

    Now, these people know that Their President will never be out in front and pardons are only for the Instigators and never the Instigated. That kind of protest action is very unlikely to be repeated by the MAGAts. A lone wolf or three will do something horrible, but that will be the most of it.

    3
  30. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I wonder what sort of standing orders his Secret Service team has now?

  31. CSK says:

    Trump’s aides are afraid he might want to hold a press conference after his arraignment.

  32. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon:

    Still the biggest risk is from individuals and very small groups.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    It will get interesting when the judge throws a gag order on him (which his lawyers will be praying for).

    1
  34. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    How long do you think it’ll take him to violate it?

    2
  35. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    How long will it take him to walk out of the courtroom?

    3
  36. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Does he think the MAGAs will bust him out of Riker’s if he does?

  37. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @charon:

    … made many phone calls in the leadup to a group called “Christian Identity.”

    This is an ugly rathole, but one that we may need to visit, like it or not.

    From https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/christian-identity

    Christian Identity is an antisemitic, racist theology that rose to a position of commanding influence on the racist right in the 1980s. “Christian” in name only, it asserts that white people, not Jewish people, are the true Israelites favored by God in the Bible.

    These are the Folks, along with “Church of Jesus Christ Christian” that make up teh hate group Aryan Nations.

    H U G E proponents of the MAGA movement, they see Trump as the only one speaking THEIR truth.

    Sadly, they are more powerful in the USA than we would like to admit, affecting the Pacific Northwest of the USA since they (Aryan Nation) decided that relocation to Idaho to start a White Homeland in the 1970’s, with many still driving for teh Northwest Territorial Imperative

    Trump does not scare me as much as some of those loyal followers that have carried his flag.

    How White Supremacy Returned to Mainstream Politics

    Some celebrate Trump’s indictment… we have yet to see the actions of those truly committed independent actors.

    It only takes one.

    2
  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Or go hat and hand like these are actions by a legitimate government.

    Firstly, the saying is “to go hat IN hand…”

    Secondly, prosecuting blatant law breaking no matter the wealth, fame, or political connections of the perpetrator is exactly what legitimate governments do.

    12
  39. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Argon:

    Breaking news: FOX News no longer supporting Trump against the indictment. “We’re through with that” from a joint statement of Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

    April Fool’s Joke?

    6
  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: God doesn’t love me that much.

    1
  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @CSK: One of the lawyers I follow mentioned that ensuring trump follows the terms of release from the judge will be a truly Sisyphean task for his lawyers and that it will be interesting to see how far the prosecutors and the judge allow him to stray.

    1
  42. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    Yes, the FBI and other provocateurs have been busy.

    Possibly the single stupidest assertion made by the Trumpist imbecile squad is that the FBI is somehow anti-Trump. That assertion is utterly ridiculous on its face.

    What the FBI is, is anti-criminal, and Trump is certainly that. So even if the rank-and-file of the FBI is overwhelmingly Republican and most support Trump, they will still do their duty and present the lawfully-obtained evidence of his manifest crimes. Then, just as one should expect in a nation where nobody is above the law, he will be prosecuted.

    You, of course, deeply immersed in a barrel of Flavor-Aid, will continue to suckle Trump’s ample asscheeks and join him in the cult’s favored activity of denigrating anyone who could hold him to account.

    5
  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Who knows, if there aren’t thousands of protesters at the courthouse Tuesday, he may begin to doubt is rabble rousing ability.

    As much as I’d like to see him tossed into Rikers, likely it would be house arrest at trump tower.

  44. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Marge Taylor Greene is supposed to show up outside the courthouse on Tuesday. I don’t think she’ll be able to draw a huge crowd in Manhattan.

  45. Jax says:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying the mental image of Trump’s lawyers ACTUALLY having to gag him to shut him up. 😛 😛

    2
  46. dazedandconfused says:

    I also think anything like 1/6 us unlikely, but fear there will be some isolated incidents of terrorism.

    Trump is highly unlikely to flee, most of his wealth is tied to heavily leveraged US real estate holdings, and it would all be frozen and/or seized. His ego is deeply tied to wealth, and he is not going to jail unless he personally commits a violent crime. This should be an excellent fundraiser to boot.

  47. Gavin says:

    The real question(s) that should be asked of every one of these neanderthals is: How many uniformed US federal officers do you plan to kill in this Civil War you’re interested in? Follow-up: Are you really interested in being 0-2 instead of 0-1 with that Confederate flag?

    In a shocking coincidence, the people who now want war are the Back The Blue people.. and they aren’t smart enough to comprehend the irony or think through the need for protests that they disagree with in a free society without rolling around talking about how Everyone Who Disagrees With Me Must Be Locked Up Forever [or killed].
    Funny how that works.. when a protest is a cause they don’t support, Hey Police Go Stop Them.. but when it’s a cause they do support, Police What Are They Good For.

    3
  48. Mister Bluster says:

    So New York City, United States of America is the heart of enemy territory. Where are you from? What are you doing in the United States? Visiting? Working? Do you have a green card?

    9
  49. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: It’s a pretty perfect encapsulation of what Hate Radio and Fox News have done to our country. We could be attacked by Russia right now, and JKB would welcome the invaders coming to liberate him.

    4
  50. Argon says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Every day is April Fool’s day for FOX News viewers.

    1