Of course he does. At the drop of a hat. Or at the drop of opinion voiced by his ex-fixer. Remember that Trump is a guy who holds nothing sacred other than himself. It is in his self-interest, he believes, to plant fear and anger amongst his base. We must not help him do that.
Here is what triggered this post. Michael Cohen, in his testimony before Congress, Cohen said in his closing statement that he fears for the future of the country’s democracy if Trump loses re-election.
“Indeed, given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Cohen said. “This is why I agreed to appear before you today.”
Lawrence O’Donnell in his program The Last Word, on March 14th, took issue with that prediction.
O’DONNELL: And then the president gave an interview yesterday in which he said something that sounded to many people like a threat if he lost the election or was impeached.
And I don’t want to fan the flames of panic about this, so I’m very reluctant to discuss, but at the end of this hour, I’ll tell you what I think will happen in the next presidential transition of power.
Here is the transcript from the closing “Last Word” (block quoting suppressed.)
… today Donald Trump said what might be the most insulting thing ever said about Trump voters, that they are violent criminals poised to commit treason. He didn`t say it in exactly those words. So when we come back after this break, you be the judge of what Donald Trump meant.
O`DONNELL: When listening to Donald Trump, you must never forget that he was the man who said Mexico will pay for the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mexico will pay for the wall. Believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So much of what Donald Trump says is a variation on that, a complete fantasy or an outright lie that he knows is untrue. And I believe that’s what we’re dealing with in a Breitbart interview yesterday where the president said something that many people have now interpreted as threatening a coup, a foreshadowing that he will not leave office if he is impeached or defeated in his re-election campaign.
The president said, “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.” Now, I don’t actually believe that the president was threatening a coup or an armed insurrection of some kind in support of Trump as president for life. I believe that was gibberish from the man who said Mexico will pay for the wall. I think the full context of his comments actually clarified that.
He went on to say, “The left plays it cuter and tougher like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress.” So he’s actually saying Nancy Pelosi is tougher than Bikers for Trump which is probably true. Bikers actually aren’t what they used to be.
You walk into a Harley-Davidson dealer tomorrow and you`re looking at prices that are the cost of a car, up to $45,000. And Harley stopped being tough guy transportation decades ago. There’s a lot of dentists out there now on their Harleys every weekend. So let’s all relax about Bikers for Trump.
And let’s relax about the 750,000 police officers in America who Donald Trump wrongly believes all support him. They have never un-holstered their guns because of a presidential election result and they never will.
They have families. They have children. They have futures. They have comfortable retirement benefits coming to them if they put in enough years of service.
In other words, they’re regular Americans with a reliable paycheck and their lives are pretty good. And even if the majority of them support Trump that leaves at least 300,000 cops in America who do not support Donald Trump. American police officers are not going to start shooting at each other over Donald Trump.
And let’s relax about the 1.2 million people in the American military. They’re not going to suddenly start rolling tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue because of an election result. They are professional. They are dutiful. They are not going to make war on Americans or each other for Donald Trump.
Remember, even if the majority of the military support Trump, that leaves hundreds of thousands of military personnel who don’t support Donald Trump. It feels ridiculous to even have to say any of this out loud. But Donald Trump has pushed the country to this place, to this level of suspicion about what he wants.
And I’m sure Donald Trump would like to have the police and the military, and Bikers for Trump take up arms if he loses an election but they won’t.
They won’t because they are better people than Donald Trump wants them to be.
They are not violent criminals, ready to commit treason and murder for Donald Trump. There are not millions of people in America ready to grab their guns and go to war against Americans for Donald Trump. President Trump’s rhetoric has given aid and comfort to hateful murderers in this country.
On August 12th, 2017, a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of opponents of white supremacists and deliberately murdered Heather Higher. That was soul-crushing for the country to witness, but it was not contagious. None of the other Trump supporting white supremacists who shared the feelings of that murderous driver murdered anyone else in Charlottesville.
On October 27, 2018, a heavily armed anti-Semite who believes Donald Trump’s rhetoric about an invasion on our southern border and specifically blamed Jews for the invasion Donald Trump said was taking over this country entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 people.
Donald Trump’s rhetoric helped drive those murders. So he is already guilty of inciting murderous violence in America. And we will probably see more of that kind of violence in the age of Trump. Another Synagogue, another group of protesters against white supremacy, a reporter Donald Trump calls an enemy of the people, we don’t know.
But that, that is worth worrying about. Not the next presidential transition of power. Let’s not help Donald Trump fan his imaginary flames.
So, if you read about or hear about fears of a civil war, let Lawrence’s last words put you at ease. And recall the words of Nancy Pelosi about Trump: “He’s just not worth it.”