MSNBC conservative Noah Rothman denied that President Donald Trump was issuing threats by praising his “tough people,” but he was piled on by other “Morning Joe” panelists.
The president complained that Democrats were too tough on him, but he told Breitbart News that his supporters in law enforcement, the military and the “Bikers for Trump” group were even tougher — and might someday take action against his opponents.
“If that doesn’t scare people I don’t know what will,” said MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch. “What dictators do, is they tell you what they’re going to do. They tell you their playbook.”
Deutsch said the president did the same thing before the 2016 election, which he expected to lose, by questioning the polls as rigged, and he warned that Trump would not peacefully leave the White House.
“Michael Cohen said this at the end of his testimony and I’ve said this all along,” Deutsch said. “This is like no other we’ve ever seen. If he loses, he will do anything possible to tell people to take to the streets. He’s already visualizing what he’s saying — police, military, bikers, construction workers. If that doesn’t frighten people — he will not go peacefully.”
Host Willie Geist reminded Deutsch that law enforcement officers and military personnel swore oaths to the Constitution, not the president, and Rothman agreed.
“That’s insulting to these people to suggest that they would be moved by the president’s honor to defend him in the street and attack their fellow citizens in the process,” Rothman said. “That’s an insult, it’s humiliating, and that’s why this is less threatening than just sad and kind of pathetic.”
Republican strategist Susan Del Percio disagreed, saying Trump had encouraged violence at his rallies by offering to pay legal bills for anyone who roughed up protesters.
“The fact that the president of the United States is saying, if it gets bad I will allow my people to become violent and I will support them — who’s to say when it gets bad?” Del Percio said. “This is going to get worse and worse and worse.”
Rothman agreed Trump had encouraged violence, but African-American studies professor Eddie Glaude Jr. strongly disagreed that the military and law enforcement could not be corrupted by the president.
“We need mindful of our recent history,” Glaude said. “I come out of a tradition where this stuff is real. When people are mobilized and their fears and hatreds are exaggerated, and they feel like their lives are under threat — I come out of a tradition where just to stand in a line to vote could lead to the threatening of your life. It wasn’t just by people who were ordinary citizens,
It was actually sanctioned by people who took the oath.”
Glaude pointed out that this had happened as recently as the 1970s, and Del Percio reminded Rothman of the Kent State massacre of anti-war protesters by National Guardsmen.
“This country is capable, we are capable of unimaginable ugliness,” Glaude said, “and he is capable of mobilizing it.”