MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and John Heilemann called out Donald Trump for stoking violence with rhetoric "straight out of Nazi Germany" as he attempts to stave off criminal charges.
The former president used language reminiscent of his calls for action ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection as Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg weighs an indictment, and the "Morning Joe" panelists believed Trump was trying to threaten the prosecutor.
"What is taking place here in New York City over the course of the week, you had from the moment that Trump came out on Truth Social last weekend and called on his supporters to protest, some would say that was incitement to riot," Heilemann said. "Some would say it was reminiscent of the calls he put out before Jan. 6, echoes were strongly there. You saw, you know, the police barricades were laid out throughout New York City. We saw those, the footage. I saw it here in the city, you had the police department told its officers to go out in dress blues and project some sense of force."
Trump's posts on Thursday referred to Bragg as an "animal" and "human scum" who was "doing the work of the devil," and Heilemann said he sounded an "antisemitic dog whistle" by tying the DA to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, and Scarborough said his rhetoric had an alarming historical precedent.
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"If this isn't fascist-type language and fascist-type imagery," Scarborough said. "Here you have a former president of the United States -- let's face it, Republicans, he's your guy, he's the head of your party -- with a baseball bat in a split screen and a prosecutor who he is calling human scum. I mean, I'm sorry, is that straight out of Nazi Germany, calling him human scum, calling him an animal, doing the George Soros lie. We're going to dig into that, about what a lie that is, more anti-Semitic dog whistling from Donald Trump, and every Republican, it seems, that talks about this, they just can't help but engaging in the anti-Semitic dog whistling, going against a Holocaust survivor. We could show you this, but go back to the image of the baseball bat while John talks. Look at this. this guy was once president of the United States."
Heilemann said the former president's posts could potentially put him in additional legal jeopardy as a direct threat to a public official.
"It is a provocative image, to say the least -- dangerous, incendiary," Heilemann said. "There's been a lot of discussions around the security that is being put in place to try to protect Alvin Bragg here in Manhattan. You guys made the point earlier, there is no doubt, we don't know what Donald Trump's supporters will or won't do if he is or isn't indicted, but what we have seen over the course of this week is that when Donald Trump threw up the Trump signal, the bat signal on Saturday and tried to move this case out of the legal realm and into the political realm."
House Republicans have already rushed to his aid and demanded a look inside Bragg's investigation.
"He asked them to jump. they said, 'How high?'" Heilemann said. "They're aiding in his effort to try to delegitimize, disrupt, wreak some kind of chaos that will, I guess in trump's view, advantage him politically somehow, potentially disrupt the proceedings of the grand jury. We have no reason to think that has happened yet, but in Donald Trump's world today, in Donald Trump's head, he thinks he won this week."
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