Monday, February 22, 2021


I'm sure you know that the Supreme Court has refused to block a demand from the Manhattan DA's office for tax documents from Donald Trump. As Jonathan Chait notes, Trump is flipping out.
He did not take the defeat in stride. Instead, the former president released a statement that, even by Trumpian standards, brims with anger.
The statement -- which, as Chait notes, "bears every hallmark of an authentically Trump-authored text, as opposed to the knockoff versions produced by his aides" -- appears below, courtesy of CNN's Jim Acosta. I'll grant that it's emotionally satisfying to watch Trump sputter with rage -- but one phrase in this statement alarms me:

It's the phrase at the end of the third paragraph, in which Trump rails against "'headhunting' prosecutors and AGs." He says prosecutors want to "take [him] out" -- and then writes, "except that the people of our Country won't stand for it."

When Trump says, "the people of our Country," he always means the people of his country: Trump voters, whom he regards as the only legitimate Americans. And what does he mean when he says they "won't stand for it"? What right do the residents of MAGA Nation have to intervene in prosecutions by a DA in Manhattan? Even if they wanted to intervene, how would they do it?

After January 6, we know the answer to that: They'd do it by means of political violence.

I wrote about this back in November. I was reading about a pro-Trump demonstration in D.C. that, as it turned out, wasn't very large and never became violent, but what I feared at the time actually happened a couple of months later. I noted that in 2010 the Obama administration abandoned plans to try the 9/11 plotters in Manhattan, because the security plan for the area around the courthouse was deemed too onerous for the neighborhood and there was ongoing anxiety about violence surrounding the trial. I wrote:
I think a trial of Donald Trump in Manhattan -- or anywhere in America -- could pose similar security risks. I'm not sure there's as much reason to fear MAGA Nation if Trump is put on trial as there was to fear Al Qaeda sympathizers a decade ago, but I couldn't really guess at the relative risk.
We can guess now. The risk of a violent mass disruption of a Trump trial is great.

And in his statement today, I think Trump is trying to summon just such a response.

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