NEW YORK CITY, near America
Justice looms for Donald J. Trump, so it seems. Soon enough, down will go the twice-impeached ex-president living large and cheesy at his Florida golf resort after fleeing New York because his home town can no longer stand him.
Can it be? Really? Justice at last for the exiled Tangerine Idi Amin.
We Americans quietly breathe a collective sigh of relief. But why do we hesitate to cheer aloud? Could it be that a proposition we’ve heard since schooldays—no one is above the law—is a hollow promise?
Come what may in the glorious course of just deserts in store for Mr. Trump, a dangerous storm is already at hand for the rest of us. Its thunderclaps are the daily episodes of shootings and tribal confrontations that are echoes of horror in another place: sporadic, organized mayhem over three decades of ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1960s through the ‘90s, a bloody era known as “The Troubles.”
For an unholy number of Americans, filled with inchoate anger and misguided patriotism, the likely criminal prosecution of a president will be seen as persecution. Thus, Mr. Trump may nourish his cult of true-believers, sure to deem him worthy of revenge on “élites” of their own genetic pool and those of “inferior” complexions.
The repercussions are clear to David Smith, a Washington correspondent for The Guardian of London. He writes: “[I]n a nation that has the genocide of indigenous Americans, slavery, civil war and relentless gun violence in its cultural DNA, bloodshed is never far from the surface.”
Of the Trump cult and its enforcers, Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warns of escalating violence as an existential threat to America’s multi-ethnic democracy. By which she references the fascist militias indulged by half the country’s governing duopoly, namely the Republican Party.
“Americans need to realize that paramilitary groups could become a normal part of our political life,” said Ms. Kleinfeld in an interview with the Washington Post. “[W]e’ve seen an uptick in Republican [organizations] at the local level using militias for security at party events, having militias vote on party business…having militias introduce legislation.”
She adds, “Americans need to understand that you can’t just keep your head down, stay out of politics and avoid what’s happening.”
Members of militias such as the “Minuteman Project,” the “Army of God,” and “White Aryan Resistance” were among the thousands of fascist goons who assaulted police during the Trump-instigated terrorist rampage at the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Mr. Trump’s mob sent some hundred and forty officers to Washington hospitals for treatment of serious injuries. Five other officers died that day, or soon after.
The carnage was manifestly predictable. Authorities had only to monitor social media in the days of tension leading up to the January 6 to read what excitable Trumpists could and did read.
Consider one of many rousing calls to arms—this one from “Salty Cracker,” the nom de guerre of a YouTube influencer with 776,000 subscribers. Referencing a blood-drenched massacre during a wedding scene from the misogynistic, über violent television series “Game of Thrones,” Mr. Cracker advised the Capitol cops—
“You better understand something…Red wave, bitch! There’s gonna be a red wedding going down Jan. 6. Motherfucker, you better look outside. You better…kick that fucking door open and look down the street. There’s gonna be a million-plus geeked-up, armed Americans.”
Donald Trump himself was afforded personal protection from the red wave, courtesy of U.S. Secret Service agents who were heavily armed and highly trained in weaponry, close combat, martial arts—and dealing with the likes of a profane president they had to physically restrain from his attempt to play Der Führer by insisting they transport him, via White House limousine, to the fascist mêlée.
Along the insurrection route down Pennsylvania Avenue were dozens of tree-climbing “Proud Boys,” the self-styled presidential bodyguards that Mr. Trump had earlier called on to “stand by.” A roving gang of white supremacist street brawlers, the lads scrambled up several of the willow oaks lining the avenue, there to perch on limbs with trusty semiautomatic rifles at the ready.
Along with other such brutal gangs—the “Three Percenters” the “Oath Keepers,” et al.—the lads and fascist goons and militiamen produced an encore of their deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in the summer of 2017. Flying proudly at Virginia event were the same swastika banners and stars-and-bars flags that losing side of the American Civil War flew to champion the institution of slavery as were seen in Washington in the winter of 2021.
A young woman participant in a counterdemonstration died in Charlottesville that summer, crushed to death by a thug who rammed into her with his car and left nineteen others seriously hurt. That ended things. The Washington attack was halted after four hours, during which time local police somehow managed to tire out Mr. Trump’s mob.
Charlottesville led to Washington, where a nearly successful coup d’état is defined by veteran U.S. Navy counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance as a treasonous “template to do it right the next time.”
Let us put doubt and hesitation aside for a moment that we may consider a number of uplifting developments:
• Eight congressional hearings into Mr. Trump’s last hurrah, the insurrection, wrapped up in July—temporarily.
Trump thugs armed with spears, pipe bombs, brass knuckles, and spiked clubs smeared the Capitol corridors with excrement and sought to hang Vice President Mike Pence from a functioning gallows erected just outside the building. A motivation claimed was the Big Lie of Mr. Trump’s invention: the 2020 presidential election, which he decisively lost, was “stolen” for Joe Biden by a shadowy cast of swarthy troublemakers from abroad and big-city “minorities.”
The hearings were dramatic, attracting tens of millions of viewers for each episode, leaving only his most frothy Trumpisti still loyal; even certain panjandrums of Republican Party denounced his traitorous conduct.
• Star witness of the hearings was 26-year-old former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was “in the room where it happened,” per a lyrical refrain from “Hamilton,” the smash hit Broadway play about America’s revolutionary founding in the eighteenth century.
Her sworn testimony as to Donald Trump’s perfidy (and general piggery) was devastating. The damning facts she entered into record—facts pointing to criminal conspiracy and treason, according to Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor in Washington—were thoroughly corroborated.
• On July 26, the Washington Post reported that Ms. Hutchinson likewise now stars in a parallel, backstage investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors are probing what appear to be criminal actions taken by several high-level officials of the Trump administration, and the actions of Mr. Trump himself.
• One day later, the New York Times reported on a brazen plot to create fraudulent election results in a handful of states that would tip the 2020 contest in Mr. Trump’s favor. The evidence: a cache of emails obtained by the Times that circulated among pro-Trump lawyers, state Republican officials, and certain White House aides.
• The congressional committee’s staff investigators will spend this month of August sifting through an influx of new witnesses and evidence that surfaced in the wake of hearings in June and July, hearings that encouraged a boatload of squealers to flee a sinking ship and rat out Donald Trump. Ever more damning and dramatic hearings will commence in September.
• Meanwhile, a special grand jury in Atlanta is looking into potential criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election process in the state of Georgia. Evidence well known to any American with a television set or radio is a tape recording of Donald Trump’s intimidating telephone call to state officials he asks to produce a bogus plurality of votes in his favor.
Georgia prosecutors have issued subpoenas for testimony from several of Mr. Trump’s confidantes in the alleged subversion, including Rudy Giuliani, former of New York City and the ex-president’s personal attorney, whose law license has been suspended in New York and Washington; John Eastman, head of a clownish lawyer group that advised Mr. Trump on strategies for overturning President Biden’s electoral wins in Georgia and other states; and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a one-time Republican rival who referred to Donald Trump as a right-wing “kook” prior to becoming a steadfast political ally.
Fani T. Willis, the Atlanta district attorney directing the state probe, hints at issuing a subpoena for Donald Trump as well. Further, Ms. Willis intends to announce indictments afterthis November’s congressional elections, so as not to politicize an historical first—the possibility of sending a president to prison.
Whether this year or next, the mountains of evidence that document Mr. Trump’s felonious presidency will crush him at the criminal trial or trials that await. Should he be convicted and sentenced to absentia, we may then loudly cheer. But still…
According to a May survey conducted by the University of Chicago, the Zeitgeist of our post-Trump era portends to be a malaise of frustration and confusion, anger and fear. Among the disheartening findings: “Nearly half of Americans (forty-nine percent) agree that they ‘more and more feel like a stranger in my own country,’ with sixty-nine percent of strong Republicans…leading the way. Fully thirty-eight percent of strong [Democratic Party voters] agreed.”
Further from the survey—
• Seventy-three percent of Republican voters agree that “Democrats are generally bullies who want to impose their political belief on those who disagree.” Seventy-four percent of Democrats express the same view. A lopsided majority of each party holds that members of the other are “generally untruthful and are pushing disinformation.”
• Forty-five percent of Republicans, along with one in three Democrats agree that “it may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government.”
Matching the mood of a nation where disputes among the populace are so often settled by guns rather than tongues, now comes the New Hampshire-based firearms manufacturer Sig Sauer with a hot new item for 2022—a weapon even more maniacally lethal than the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, far and away the American mass murderers’ instruments of choice.
Like the AR-15, a slight modification of the U.S. Army M-16 battleground machine gun, Sig Sauer’s MCX-SPEAR is marketed as the civilian version of an infantry rifle introduced in 2019 as the next piece of standard equipment in warfare. Back in ’19, General Mark Milley praised Sig Sauer’s contribution to the military in an interview with Army Times magazine.
“This is a weapon that could defeat any body armor, any planned body armor that we know of in the future,” General Milley said of the MCX-SPEAR. “This is a weapon that can go out at ranges that are unknown today.”
Ryan Busse, a reformed firearms company executive now with the San Francisco-based Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, seconded General Milley’s assessment. As quoted by The Guardian, Mr. Busse said of Sig Sauer’s innovative rifle: “It’ll shoot through almost all the bulletproof vests that are worn by law enforcement in the country right now,” Mr. Busse said in
Just think of it: a cool new rifle that kills pesky cops who dare to sideline slaughter. How very avant-garde.
Of course, murderers must be able to pony up $8,000 [€7,840] for the price of admission. Which appears to be no problem, seeing that the approximately two thousand MCX-SPEARs gone to market thus far were quickly snapped up by American purchasers.
Sig Sauer’s president and chief operating officer Ron Cohen enthused about his baby for the company website: “This is a rare opportunity for passionate consumers to own a piece of history!”
Indeed. And what could possibly go wrong?
Time-stained violence not necessarily involving guns may rise as a factor of social madness here. African Americans, immigrant Latinos and Asians, uppity women, and Jews (of course) will serve as the usual perfidious suspects.
On June 10, former U.S. Marine Corps Officer Matthew Belanger was arrested for allegedly conspiring with fascist comrades to invade a suburban New York synagogue to “reduce the number of minority residents in the U.S.” by means of mass murder, according to court papers.
The synagogue invasion, said federal prosecutors, was required of Mr. Belanger for membership in a neo-Nazi organization known by the German title “Rapekrieg” (rape war), whereby European-American women are to be forcibly impregnated in order to “increase the production of white children.”
Meanwhile, the latest darling of the Republican-fascist movement here in the United States—Victor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary—is set to be a principal speaker at annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference, this year commencing August 4 in Texas (of course). The lengthy roster of scheduled speakers at the Dallas gathering includes Donald Trump, whispered to be already jealous of an advance media focus on Mr. Orbán.
Back home in Hungary, Mr. Orbán’s longtime chief aide, Zsuzsa Hegedus, resigned her post in protest of the prime minister’s xenophobic viewpoint, as recently expressed in a speech he delivered in Romania. In that speech, Mr. Orbán opined that Europeans must not mate with non-Europeans, as a safeguard for remaining racially “pure.”
In an essay for a Hungarian newspaper addressed to Mr. Orbán, Ms. Hegedus wrote: “I don’t know how you didn’t notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels.”
Max Schlapp, chairman of CPAC, an important funding group allied with the Republican Party, was asked by U.S. reporters for comment on the Orbán viewpoint—and whether it could be grounds for retracting his invitation to address Republicans.
“Let’s listen to the man speak,” said Mr. Schlapp.
In a park outside the White House in the moments before a fascist mob under the watch of gunmen in the trees along Pennsylvania Avenue marched to the Capitol with swastika banners and pro-slavery flags, people listened to a man speak.
“Fight like hell!” the man said.
His listeners acted accordingly, and the result was madness. American madness, it would seem, is a reliable proposition.
Thomas Adcock is our U.S.correspondent.
His essays with us here.