When Donald Trump announced the launch of his new social media platform, Truth Social, the clock started ticking on when it would go the way of Gab, Parler, and nearly every other right-wing alternative to Twitter where free speech supposedly reigns supreme. That is, it would only be a matter of time before, like those platforms, Truth Social would land in the news for violent threats by its users.
Well, that moment may have come. According to a report by VICE’s David Gilbert, Truth Social and other deplorable forums have been flooded with violent and outright terroristic threats against Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate who signed the warrant that allowed the FBI to swoop into Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
According to an analysis by nonprofit public-interest investigator Advance Democracy, Reinhart has been the target of highly graphic and antisemitic posts on pro-Trump platforms like Patriots.win (formerly TheDonald), Gab, Truth Social, and Gettr, as well as on pro-Trump channels at 4chan. Other posters have attempted to dox Reinhart and his relatives.
Patriots.win/TheDonald is the same forum where many members of the horde that swarmed into the Capitol posted threats of violence. That’s particularly alarming to Advance Democracy founder Daniel J. Jones.
“The threats against Judge Reinhart in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid are significant,” Daniel J. Jones, founder of Advance Democracy, told VICE News. “In addition to the antisemitic and violent slurs, we’re seeing his address and other personal information being shared online—with the implied or explicit purpose of ‘real-life’ action.”
A message board where a number of these threats were posted also happens to be the same one where many of those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot posted threats of violence in the lead-up to Jan. 6.
These threats against the judge, Jones told VICE News, are “all the more alerting given the events of January 6.”
Looking at samples of posts obtained by VICE, Jones is being extremely kind in merely calling these threats “significant.”
“This is the piece of shit judge who approved FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago,” a user wrote on the pro-Trump message board formerly known as TheDonald. “I see a rope around his neck.”
Responding, another user wrote: “Idgaf [I don’t give a fuck] anymore. Name? Address? Put that shit all up on here.” Moments later, a different member replied with what appears to be Reinhart’s current address, phone numbers, previous addresses, and names of possible relatives.
In another post on the same message board, one user commented, “Let’s find out if he has children….where they go to school, where they live…EVERYTHING.”
This isn’t just significant. This is horrifying. At least as horrifying, if not more so, is the deafening silence from Trump and what passes for leadership in the GOP. If Trump has any designs on being president again, he will call a halt to this talk, and do it now. I realize that he’s had dozens of chances to appear presidential and blown most, if not all, of them eight ways to Sunday. But if he isn’t willing to speak up, he ought to do us all a favor and help end this national nightmare by getting out of the 2024 race.
Even if Trump sits on his hands, the people making these threats may be in for a very hard dose of reality. I was first tipped off to this story by prominent never-Trump conservative Contented Independent, who posted a very stark warning on Twitter about what will happen to these posters.
Contented Indie noticed the threatening posts crop up early on, and warned that anyone making such posts would face the full weight of the federal government.
One good thing that may come out of this? This could potentially be the end of Truth Social. I thought Truth Social wouldn’t even launch, once we learned last fall that Trump was using stolen Mastodon code to power it. But if these kinds of threats are flying around Truth Social, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before it gets kicked out of Apple’s App Store and gets fired by whoever provides it with hosting services. Hopefully Gab and Gettr get the same treatment.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.