Former President Donald Trump on Monday defended a controversial social media post described by some as a stochastic terrorist threat against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump on Thursday posted a photo on his Truth Social site showing the former president holding a baseball bat next to a photo of the Manhattan prosecutor in an all-caps post that includes a description of Bragg as a “SOROS BACKED ANIMAL.”
Trump may not have explicitly called for violence against the man leading an investigation into alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, but the former president is getting close according to Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies extremism, Business Insider reports.
"Trump is doing what he has always done. He walks to the line of openly calling for violence and stops just before making overt directives," Braddock said.
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"In many ways, the implications are the same. His supporters who are looking for an excuse to turn to violence will see this as his implicit approval."
During an appearance with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday, Trump dismissed the notion that he intentionally promoted violence. He said the photo was taken to promote a bat that was “made in America.”
“They put up a picture of me. And you know when I was holding the baseball bat, it was at the White House. Make America buy America because they didn't want to buy America things,” Trump said of the since-removed post.
“And this is a company that makes baseball bats then they put next to that picture next to Alvin Bragg. I didn’t do it.”
Trump said his “death and destruction” comment wasn’t intended to be a threat but rather a warning of what could happen if Bragg pursues a “fake prosecution.”
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“I mean, I can't believe people that have never been positive to me or defended me that don't like me. They're on the other side of the world. These are people that said, ‘You can't do this prosecution, it will cause tremendous problems.’
“I didn't say to do something bad. I said I am afraid that people will do something because people are very angry about it.”
“Let me be clear,” Hannity asked Trump, “so you did not post the picture of you with a baseball bat in the oval office next to the picture with Bragg, somebody else did that?
“I posted a very positive article and whatever picture they put up, my people didn't put up the picture, I think the picture maybe was either in the article or it was put in the article later. But again, that was a baseball bat to promote made in America companies making America don't go to Japan to buy…” Trump said.
“But you know how it was interpreted?” Hannity interrupted.
“Because it's a fake news media. That's what they do … anything you say and they say the opposite.
The Democrats are genius at a few things. They're horrible at foreign relations. They are horrible at policy. They're horrible at everything. They're good at a number of things, though, misinformation, or disinformation depending on your definition, but both.”
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