America’s “megalomaniacal president” is cornered and has “violence on his mind,” Robert Reich warned on Saturday, and the nation has entered "a perilous moment."
The long-time political commentator, professor, and author wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian that President Donald Trump has been forced into a corner by ongoing investigations, including new probes and hearings by congressional Democrats, and Republicans who “have begun to desert him.”
Reich noted that twelve GOP lawmakers broke ranks on Trump’s border wall and seven defected regarding Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Nearly all of them have “gone on record that they want Robert Mueller’s report made public.”
And Trump is a president who “cannot abide losing.” He is a president whose “ego can’t contain humiliation.”
What will he do?
Reich pointed to Trump’s recent interview with Breitbart News, during which the president raised “the specter of violence against his political opponents.”
Trump told the right-wing publication: “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.”
“In case you missed it, “they” are Trump’s political opponents,” Reich wrote. “Including House Democrats and the mainstream media. And the “certain point” could be impeachment but is more likely to be reached if the House investigations reveal crimes Trump committed both before and after he became president.”
Trump seems to believe that those who are loyal to him — law enforcement, the military and groups like Bikers for Trump — will come to his rescue if congressional investigations bring him too much humiliation and shame, let alone possible jail time.
Thinly-veiled threats of violence are nothing new for this president.
Reich noted that during a campaign rally for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley last year, Trump told the crowd his opponents “were lucky that we’re peaceful,”
He went on to add: “Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump ... They travel all over the country ... They’ve been great.” But, he warned, “these are tough people ... they’re peaceful people, and antifa and all, they’d better hope they stay that way.”
Earlier still, Trump promoted violence against his detractors during his own campaign rallies. Reich recalled that then-candidate Trump said during an event in Las Vegas that “he’d like to punch a protester in the face; at another event encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap” out of any protester making trouble.”
“Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has given cover to some of the most vile bigots in America,” Reich said. “As he grows more desperate, he is giving them encouragement.”
The growing movement of white nationalists is case in point, as Americans have seen more than once over the past few years but most significantly in the wake of the New Zealand mosque attack.
Asked by a reporter if he believed white nationalism is on the rise around the world, Trump said no — despite data to the contrary from the Southern Poverty Law Center and his very own FBI.
“I don’t really,” the president said. “I think it’s a small group of people.”
Reich said it is incumbent upon all Americans, lawmakers — regardless of party — and the nation’s military leaders “to condemn hatred and violence in all its forms, even when the president of the United States makes excuses for it.”
“And it is up to all of us to reaffirm our commitment to democracy,” he said. “Even when the president of the United States threatens to unleash the military and vigilantes against it.”