Christopher P. Hasson, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard, is facing federal weapons charges in connection with an alleged domestic terrorist plot aimed at prominent Democrats as well as journalists for CNN and MSNBC. According to federal law enforcement, Hasson has expressed white nationalist views and was stockpiling weapons in his basement apartment in Washington, D.C.’s Maryland suburbs. But even after Hasson was arrested and appeared in federal court this week, President Donald Trump was remaining silent about the alleged terror plot—and conservative pundit Jennifer Rubin calls the president out in her latest Washington Post column.
“A successful law enforcement operation snagged a suspect allegedly bent on mass murder,” Rubin explains. “President Trump surely would take credit for this, right? Actually, as of Friday morning, there has been deafening silence from the White House. Why so mum?”
Rubin goes on to explain why, asserting that unlike the “foreign terrorists” and illegal immigrants Trump often raves about, Hasson’s alleged plot doesn’t fit neatly into his narrative of foreign invaders.
“Well, perhaps Hasson is not the ‘right’ kind of terrorist,” Rubin writes. “Trump has been obsessed and willing to misread the public over and over again with the risk from foreign terrorists.”
Rubin goes on to say, “For Trump, terrorism is the justification for irrational xenophobic immigration policies that feed his base’s xenophobia. He stokes fear of throngs of MS-13 gang members and cites ‘thousands’ of arrests—exaggerations, if not outright lies, he uses to try to paint ‘dreamers’ and desperate asylum seekers as part of an undifferentiated horde of invaders.”
According to federal law enforcement’s allegations, Hasson had a long hit list of Democrats he hoped to target—ranging from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Sen. Cory Booker. And his alleged targets in the media included Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo at CNN as well as Chris Hayes and anti-Trump conservative Joe Scarborough at MSNBC (where Rubin often appears as a guest). And Rubin, in her column, theorizes that Trump “might not be keen on highlighting the Hasson case” because the suspect “seemed to take” Trump’s “vilification of the media to heart.”
Rubin notes that others suspected of domestic terrorist activity, including Florida mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, also expressed a vehement hatred for the mainstream media. And she mentions the attack on a BBC cameraman at a recent Trump rally in El Paso, Texas.
“Trump believes he is responsible for none of this, nor of the upturn in hate crimes during his presidency,” Rubin observes. “But it defies logic and experience to claim that the man with the loudest bullhorn on the planet does not affect anyone’s conduct. Was it just a coincidence that a MAGA fan at a rally in which Trump vilified the media reportedly decided to take his aggression out on, well, the media? No more a coincidence, I suppose, than the alleged plot by Sayoc, whose van was covered with pro-Trump and anti-CNN stickers and messages.”
Rubin concludes her piece by asserting that terrorism should always be concern for the president of the United States—even it doesn’t fit neatly into a partisan agenda.
“For Trump, it could all be part of his con game to rile up a low-information base of voters and give them easily identified enemies: the media, immigrants,” Rubin stresses. “This, however, is real life, where words matter, and Trump’s relative lack of interest in domestic terrorism that serves no partisan purpose might have deadly consequences.”