In an interview with Breitbart, Donald Trump had a not-at-all-subtle message for his opponents. “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump,” he claimed. “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.”
Trump doesn’t make it clear who “they” are, or exactly what would have to happen before his collection of soldiers, officers, and bikers would be released to make things “very bad.” Not that details are required. Trump is making it clear he thinks he has the muscle on his side to get his way by brute force, no democracy required.
As the Toronto Star notes, this follows another statement Trump made in November in which he called protesters “weaklings” and added even more components to the mix of “tough guys” who were ready to smack down resisters. “You know, they’re tough guys, right. Where are the Bikers for Trump? Where are the police? Where are the military? Where are the ICE? Where are the Border Patrol? No. No. We’ve taken a lot. We’ve taken a lot, folks.”
These authoritarian calls to violence are just more of the same from a candidate who began by calling for violence against protesters at his rallies. And it’s far, far from certain that the military—which is far more wedded to the Constitution than Trump is—would obey an illegal order. Especially when Trump’s border “emergency” got its funds by taking away funding for homes, schools, and hospitals for military families.
In his testimony before Congress, Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen stated that he was concerned Trump wouldn’t leave the political stage even if he lost an election. Trump is certainly making that concern very easy to believe.