After six months and half the administration of Donald Trump has virtually nothing to herald as a success. His most prominent campaign promises (repeal ObamaCare, defeat ISIS, build a border wall) remain unfulfilled. But there is one area of accomplishment about which he can brag. The escalation of hatred directed by his followers to their fellow Americans is reaching new highs.
The vitriol from the right has increased exponentially since the election of Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual survey of hate groups shows an unprecedented rise fueled by Trump’s hostile rhetoric. And those groups are enjoying an association with mainstream politics they have never known. They are showing up on national television and at presidential press briefings. And they even have their own representatives in the White House. Trump’s alt-right hero and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has an office next to the oval one.
High on the list of radical alt-right wackos is conspiracy freak Alex Jones. On his radio broadcasts Jones unleashes a non-stop flurry of malicious rants and dark fantasies. He famously asserts that the Sandy Hook murders were a hoax complete with actors portraying children’s corpses. More recently he has been fixated on what he believes are the nascent ramblings of a new Civil War. Newsweek reports that:
“On June 23, he accused ‘the left’ of starting civil war and offered to personally execute convicted traitors because, he said, ‘I’m not going to sit here and just call for stuff without actually being part of it.’ In the same broadcast he said, ‘I don’t need some coming-of-age deal to kill a bunch of liberals,’ but ‘we have to start getting ready for insurrection and civil war because they’re really pushing it.’”
And . . .
“On June 15, he warned ‘you kick off Civil War 2, baby, you’ll think Lexington and Concord was a cakewalk.’ The day before, he implicated himself and his listeners: ‘You’re trying to start a civil war with people. You’re taking our kindness for weakness. Do you understand the American people will kill all of you? You understand? We are killing machines, you fools.… But I can shoot bull’s-eye at 400 yards, dumbass. I mean, they have no idea who they’re messing with.’”
In addition, Jones has called on the President to take action against Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey for unspecified crimes. “I would support the president making a military move on them right now,” Jones said. And the profane tirade he unloaded on Rep. Adam Schiff has to be seen to be believed.
Jones has crossed a line that may put him in legal jeopardy. It is against the law to threaten government officials. And his advocacy of violence toward anyone with whom he disagrees should earn immediate condemnation and social exile. However, Jones remains a confidant and ally of Donald Trump. He professes his undying loyalty on every show. Jones has claimed to be in frequent contact with the President. As for Trump, he has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a White House press pass.
Given the overt advocacy of violence by Jones, it is high time for Trump to renounce his association with him. No president can be allowed to get away with embracing such rhetoric without paying a price. The press needs to push Trump to take a public position condemning Jones and his sick promotion of terrorism. Absent such a statement, Trump should be labeled as a domestic terrorist for supporting civil war. Because under those circumstance, that’s exactly what he is.