Mar-a-Lago fallout reveals new normal for political threats and violence
Politicians, civil servants, and even shadowy bureaucrats are becoming accustomed to the new normal of today’s polarized America: constant threats of violence inflamed by highly charged political rhetoric.
Why is it important: The January 6 attack on the Capitol demonstrated how easily tensions can turn into devastating political violence. And the problem is only getting worse.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that political violence was becoming “an almost 365-day phenomenon.”
- “I feel like every day I get reports of someone throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone for some issue,” Wray said. “It’s crazy.”
Driving the news: The The FBI’s raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence sparked a flurry of threats against people involved at nearly every level of the process.
- Attorney General Merrick Garland, Wray and FBI agents have faced an increase in online threats since Monday, according to Fox News.
- The biography and contact details of Bruce Reinhart, the judge who approved the search warrant, have been released. deleted from his district court’s websiteand its synagogue canceled a Shabbat event amid anti-Semitic threats.
- “I heard that Judge Reinhart had received threats, his information had been removed from the court records and that he was the subject of vitriol from the former president’s supporters,” Axios told Axios. Palm Beach County District Attorney Dave Aronberg.
What they say : Garland took aim Thursday at DOJ officials’ “unfounded attacks on professionalism,” saying, “I will not remain silent when their integrity is unfairly attacked.”
- The comments came during a press conference about the search for Mar-a-Lago, and shortly after an armed attack on an FBI building in Cincinnati.
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California), former impeachment official, tweeted the audio of a call he received in which one person said, “Cut off his fucking head…cut off his wife’s head, cut off his children’s heads.” (Warning, the linked tweet includes graphic audio.)
- “Since the FBI research … Republicans have been fueling violent rhetoric against lawmakers and law enforcement,” Swalwell said. “Someone is going to get killed.”
The context: Trump and his allies immediately called the research unfair, malicious and politically charged, responding to serious controversies and attacks on the government.
- “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the Democratic brownshirts known as the FBI,” said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona). tweeted hours later.
- Republican lawmakers, candidates, committees and Trump himself issued a flood of fundraising appeals in the days following the raid – many of which use language accusing ‘corrupt’ Democrats of arming the forces order and go after “your president”.
The big picture: This latest development is just a ripple in a wave of recent political threats against high-profile politicians and anonymous private citizens.
The other side: Even the issue of public servant safety has become the subject of heated partisan rhetoric, with Republicans arguing the focus is one-sided.
- The curator Judicial Crisis Network on Thursday announced a $10 million ad campaign accusing Democrats of “endangering the lives of Supreme Court Justices” with their rhetoric on abortion and criticizing Garland for not doing more to bolster security.
- “It’s time for law enforcement, the Justice Department and the media to take this more seriously and not pick and choose who is held accountable or who deserves extra protection,” said Rodney Davis (R -Ill.) said Axios.
- Davis’s office pointed out threats against Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) after becoming the target of the January 6 committee for a tour he gave on January 5.