As resistance to the Trump administration moves from Twitter to the streets, many on the right are anticipating that protests will turn violent. Trump’s aides, they say, should arm themselves.
Last weekend saw chanting protesters camped outside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s house; White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders booted from a Virginia restaurant with her family; and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi screamed at and spat on by a progressive mob as she tried to attend a movie in Tampa.
It also saw Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters (California) – a committed anti-Trumper who’s called for the President’s impeachment dozens of times – come out and condone public harassment of Trump officials.
"If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere," said Waters.
The political left’s rage has spiked since news about the Trump administration’s separation of children from their illegal immigrant parents threw the President’s immigration policy into the national spotlight.
President Trump hit back at Waters, calling her “an extraordinarily low IQ person,” but to many on the right, the new-found aggression of the anti-Trump left means Republicans need to get concealed carry permits and arm up.
Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron and four-year-old granddaughter were threatened in recent days, with actor and activist Peter Fonda, in a deranged rant last week, calling for Barron to be ripped from his mother’s arms and “put in a cage with pedophiles.”
Actor and conservative Twitter commentator James Woods warned on Monday that “Violence is the next stop on the #MadMaxine slippery slope,” and encouraged right wingers to buy guns in preparation.
"There are simply not enough police in D.C. or Virginia or Maryland to protect all Trump officials at their homes and when they go out to restaurants,” John Lott told the Washington Examiner on Monday. “Getting a concealed handgun permit would be helpful to protect themselves and their family.” Lott is a conservative author and president of the pro-gun Crime Prevention Research Center, who favors citizens taking the law into their own hands.
While law-abiding citizens are allowed to apply for concealed carry permits in Washington DC and neighboring Virginia, waiting lists can be long. And while Trump officials with permits can freely stockpile weapons at home and carry a concealed pistol to the grocery store, they can’t carry in federal buildings, on public transit, or in bars or restaurants where alcohol is served.
The same week as Fonda’s threatening Twitter rant, New York-based activist Sam Lavigne trawled the professional profile website LinkedIn to identify some 1,600 people working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with rounding-up and detaining illegal immigrants. Lavigne created a database that included public information like job titles and profile pictures of the officials.
After publication, the database was taken down by GitHub and Medium, who claimed it violated their community rules. Transparency organization WikiLeaks hosted the database, and several Antifa ‘resistance’ groups tweeted links to ICE agents’ profiles, children’s names and home addresses.
“It’s the public’s right to know the faces of the gestapo and who is creating, enforcing, and filling concentration camps in our name,” read a tweet from a user named Nathaniel Amirite, later retweeted by the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective.
Amirite’s is just one of thousands of Antifa-linked Twitter accounts doxxing ICE employees, as the loose leftist collective graduates from campus politics to real-life sedition and agitation. In their mission to combat ‘nazis’ and ‘white supremacists’, Antifa groups have shifted their activities from bong hits and banner-waving to “domestic terrorist violence,” according to the Department of Homeland security.
Even before the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy provoked the left’s anger, members of Congress on both sides had received an “unprecedented number of threats,” since a Bernie Sanders supporter shot and seriously injured Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) at a Congressional baseball game last July.
As representatives receive death threats for their political views, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pledged to provide assistance to security-conscious Congressmen and women. Since the assassination attempt on Scalise, Irving also requested a budget of $18 million to combat new threats, including cyberattacks. In the same time, over half of the 435 members of Congress have added extra security equipment, like alarms and panic buttons, to their district offices.
Scalise himself responded to Rep Waters’ call for harassment with a plea for decency. “Civility and respect always prevails over harassment and disrespect” he tweeted on Sunday.
However, based on the replies to Scalise’s tweet, the militant wing of the Democratic #resistance are unlikely to let up any time soon.
“Hi Steve, the world would be a better place if you had succumbed to your wounds ?” read a now-deleted tweet from Twitter user @alexnichols11. “Too bad you don't have to sh*t in a bag for the rest of your life,” read another.
With even more moderate and well-known ‘progressive’ voices celebrating the public shaming of Trump staff, the political climate in the US shows no signs of cooling down.
That climate of fear is captured dramatically in a campaign video from Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir. In the video, entitled ‘Threatened’, death threats left on answering machines play as Vukmir sits at her kitchen table, pistol ready. Vukmir touts her pro-life, union-busting conservative beliefs, and boasts of the death threats she’s received for them.
While Vukmir’s video was criticized for being overly dramatic, its point is clear: Death threats from the left are now both a rite of passage for conservatives and political ammunition for Republicans looking to play up the left’s violent misbehavior in the bitter 2018 midterm campaign season.
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