Outside the controlled pageantry of
the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., where President Trump treated supporters to
scornful denunciations of “the fake news media” and “radical socialism,” a
rowdier analogue was playing out on the sidewalk and the streets surrounding
A Trump supporter, angered that the Orlando Sentinel’s Michael Williams was
videotaping him getting ejected from the arena during the official launch of
Trump’s re-election campaign on Tuesday evening, walked up and tried to knock
the reporter’s phone out of his hand.
Earlier in the day, dozens of Proud
Boys, some of whom could easily be described as over the hill, marched
alongside the venue, chanting, “Roger Stone did nothing wrong,” and “Pinochet
did nothing wrong.” Stone, of course is the political dirty trickster and
former Trump consultant who is charged with witness tampering, obstructing a
proceeding and making false statements to the Special Counsel investigation
into Russian interference with the 2016 election.
More ominously, Augusto Pinochet was
the Chilean general who overthrew the democratically elected president in a
US-backed coup in 1973, and instituted military rule, while jailing, torturing
and executing tens of thousands of political opponents. One of the Pinochet
government’s most heinous methods of disappearing opponents was dropping them
out of helicopters to their deaths in the Pacific Ocean. The alt-right
extremists who tried to hitch their movement to Trump’s star during the 2016
election produced the “free helicopter rides” meme as a direct homage to
“For the last two-and-a-half years,
we have been under siege,” Trump thundered in Orlando. “And with the Mueller
report, we won; and now they want a do-over…. No president should ever have to
go through this again. It is so bad for our great country. A hoax. A great
hoax. Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day.
“We went through the greatest
witch-hunt in political history,” he continued. “The only collusion was done by
the Democrats, the fake-news media and their operatives, and the people who
funded the phony dossier, crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC.”
Whether by instinct or forethought,
Trump masterfully speaks a language well understood by his far-right supporters
without requiring him to explicitly endorse them.
A “patriotic movement” that “has
been under assault” is language that the militia movement and its white-power
allies have used since the early 1990s.
“We came this close to a damn coup
d’etat — the FBI working with the damn [Obama] White House,” Chris Hill —
head of the Georgia Security Force III% — told his followers in a Facebook Live
video three months ago. “FBI is always at the center of this shit, all the
terrorist attack, false-flag attacks. Can’t you see the pattern, connect the
damn dots? We need to be in perpetual debt, disarmed. ’Cause they’re ready to
roll out the New World Order….
“It’s all about upholding and
defending our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic,” Hill
continued. “Muslims, they’re here for one reason — that’s to take over…. Throw
in 30 million illegals. We have to stand up, man. They’re gonna run right over
In Orlando on Tuesday, President
Trump said, “Just imagine what this angry, left-wing mob would do if they were
in charge of this country. Imagine if we had a Democrat president and a
Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power
of the law to punish their opponents — which they’re trying to do now anyway….
They would strip Americans of their Constitutional rights while flooding the
country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political
As his speech wound down, Trump made
the Constitutionally-suspect proposal: “No one who supports sanctuary cities
should be allowed to run for the president of the United States.” Rapturous
applause poured from the crowd, and Trump continued, “Republicans believe
welfare, schools, hospitals, public resources should be protected for all
Pivoting from immigration to
healthcare, Trump said, “More than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed
up to support ‘Crazy’ Bernie Sanders’ socialist government takeover of
“He seems not to be doing too well
lately,” the president added. Actually, Sanders was doing quite well,
considering that a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday showed
Sanders leading Trump 48-42 among Florida voters.
Scare-talk by the president about
“socialism” clearly resonates with Trump’s base and voters even further to the
In another Facebook Live video, a
liquor-fueled group session back in March with militia members flashing
handguns at the camera, Chris Hill fretted: “Socialist are running for
Congress. Socialists are running for president. Socialists are, like, inside
our politic body. And these mother***ers, they shouldn’t get tarred and
feathered. They should be, like, strangled within an inch of their life, dude.”
In another section of the video,
discussing Muslims supposedly attempting to impose sharia law, Florida Strike
Force III% member Greg Scott opined, “So, you have 200 rounds, you want to at
least make sure that 175 of them rounds are kill shots.”
Nodding in agreement, Hill said,
“They are live targets. The enemy is here, and wants to f***ing destroy us and
our way of life. And when they get froggy and jump, we’re gonna put ’em on
Hill brought up the Christchurch
mosque shooting, prompting Scott to interject: “That’s because he was
But Hill wanted to make another
“One false-flag operation, one
psy-op,” he said. “Guns are gone, and it’s an Islamic country.”
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