"The President of the United States is encouraging the military, police, and bikers to violently attack his critics on the left."
President Donald Trump delivered a thinly-veiled threat in an interview this week with the far right wing website Breitbart.
"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," Trump told Breitbart (Google cache version.)
The remark was framed as his remarks on the "general tensions between conservatives and leftists."
Trump's comments were not widely publicized, as Breitbart, which for years was run by Trump's former campaign CEO Steve Bannon, is not a mainstream publication. Bannon infamously has described the site as the platform for the alt-right.
But Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, who focuses on tracking and fact-checking all of Trump's remarks, posted the quote to Twitter. It quickly drew concern, outrage, and condemnation – and repeated calls of fascism.
Here's what some experts are saying about the threat from the President:
Founder of ThinkProgress and Popular.info:
We can’t sugarcoat this. The President of the United States is encouraging the military, police, and bikers to vio… https://t.co/7trvJCHDAF— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1552576620.0
Trump is propped up by a transnational crime syndicate dominated by billionaires. Folks will emphasize the threat h… https://t.co/4LgkzOyG6Z— Sarah Kendzior (@Sarah Kendzior) 1552577001.0
Public policy professor, pundit, and political scientist:
This is how an authoritarian talks. Happening right in front of us. https://t.co/7VK8ZUS6fF— Brendan Nyhan (@Brendan Nyhan) 1552575516.0
Washington Post journalist:
Imagine a 2011 Obama interview in which he mused about the New Black Panthers supporting him in case things “got to… https://t.co/tpwEyru0vi— Dave Weigel (@Dave Weigel) 1552576199.0
Senior Writer at RollingStone:
This is fascistic language. https://t.co/hjRLk6oHTK— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith) 1552577976.0
You mean like when your ceaseless attacks on democratically elected officials and the free press inspired a pipe bo… https://t.co/O6fKJ21XGz— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough) 1552576221.0
Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama:
Are we supposed to take this seriously or literally? https://t.co/G2Ofdm13Xk— Dan Pfeiffer (@Dan Pfeiffer) 1552576734.0
Editor-in-Chief of Shakesville.com:
National correspondent for the Los Angeles Times:
The South made the same argument about sissified Northerners, roughly some time shortly before starting and then lo… https://t.co/yvqFctR3pU— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@Matt Pearce 🦅) 1552575684.0
Journalist, think tank fellow:
Activist and writer:
Sounds like Trump has escalated his theatrics from civil war to an all-out coup? https://t.co/DWcgLWbKlD— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈) 1552576891.0
Columnist at The Intercept:
There he goes threatening violence and civil conflict once again - not to mention sounding like a bully in the play… https://t.co/Zh9gX6Ml1X— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan) 1552572775.0
If Trump loses in 2020, he may encourage street riots. https://t.co/s1KAVGI1J6— Helen Kennedy (@Helen Kennedy) 1552576769.0
Contributing writer for the Washington Monthly:
This is fascism defined, folks. Wow. https://t.co/6bZCI9Rd1A— The Editorial Board (@The Editorial Board) 1552576420.0