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Authoritarianism of Donald Trump

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The smug look of a man who believes himself above the law.
See the main articles on this topic: Authoritarianism and Donald Trump
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When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total and that’s the way it’s got to be... It’s total.
—President Trump, claiming authority to override state governors in April 2020.[1]
For five years, my colleagues and I have taken pains to avoid Nazi comparisons. It is usually hyperbolic, and counterproductive, to label the right "fascists" in the way those on the right reflexively label the left "socialists." But this is no longer a matter of name-calling.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank[2]

Nazi analogies are thrown around with so much abandon these days it's hard not to roll one's eyes. With everything from universal healthcare to mandatory face masks being labelled as authoritarian, the meaning of the word has lost a significant amount of weight. With that said however, many of Donald Trump's statements and policies can, genuinely, be described as authoritarian in nature, even fascist.

Yale history professor Timothy Snyder has identified a number of characteristics possessed by Trump which he believes make such analogies appropriate:

  • A fondness for conspiracy theories, which he uses to create a constant feeling of danger in the minds of his supporters.[note 1] He often presents himself as the solution to threats he has invented.[2]
  • Consistently showing disdain for the truth and journalists who are critical of him. A country where the free press has been discredited experiences a state of "post-factuality", which weakens democracy.[3]
  • Seeking to establish a cult of personality by promoting himself as a strong leader, and presenting himself as a man so important it is impossible to imagine the country without him.[4]

Attacks on free speech[edit]

Intimidation of the press[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: Fake newsTruthiness, and Freedom of speech

It always begins with the press. Back in the primary, Trump's campaign banned a ton of reporters from his rallies,[5] put several media outlets on a blacklist,[6] restricted the movement of journalists (even putting them in a pen where his supporters could jeer and threaten them),[7] limited what reporters could actually cover,[8] and allowed his staffers or bodyguards to manhandle reporters (even including one from Breitbart).[9] Trump himself regularly fuels this anti-press hatred by bitterly and repeatedly denouncing them on Twitter or in rallies, thereby enhancing a threat to the freedom of the press.

During the mass demonstrations on Trump's inauguration day (20 January 2017), Alexei Wood and Aaron Cantú, two journalists who were covering the protests, were rounded up with several protesters on bogus rioting charges.[10][11][12] Both of them were facing 70 years in prison, having been accused of partaking in "vandalism". Not a single piece of evidence proving their guilt was presented, and all charges against them were dropped.[13][14]

On 21 January 2017, a day after the inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that President Donald Trump's inauguration had the largest crowds in history,[15] and denied reports about attendance being lower than that at Obama's inaugurations. He made a number of claims which flew in the face of empirical reality, since photographic evidence and ticket sales records from Washington's public transport both proved that Obama's inauguration drew larger numbers. After his little tirade, Spicer made unspecified threats to "hold the press accountable"[16] with Trump later adding: "And I think they’re going to pay a big price."[17] Trump's team spent the first week of his presidency belittling media which was critical of Trump's behaviour and Spicer's easily disprovable lies.[18][19] It was also during this time that Trump staffer Kellyanne Conway famously declared that outright lies are just, well... "alternative facts".[20] Whatever the hell that means.

This wasn't a one off freak occurrence. From that moment on, whenever the media contradicted one of Trump's lies, they were accused of spreading "fake news" whereas Trump’s lies are defended by his supporters as "alternative facts". To call that Orwellian is an understatement. Trump never, ever admits he is wrong or misinformed, and neither do his supporters; some within his party have even claimed that the President is the only credible source of information.[21] The levels of double think brought about by Trump are admired by strongmen leaders all over the world, many of whom have adopted Trump's modus operandi when fielding annoying questions from journalists.[22]

After repeatedly calling the media "the enemy of the people" (sound familiar?), Trump banned The New York Times, Buzzfeed News, CNN, the BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico from attending a so-called "gaggle" in Sean Spicer's office on February 24, 2017, which took the place of the normal daily press briefing. Instead, he allowed Breitbart, Fox News, the One America News Network, ABC, CBS, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times, all but four (ABC, Wall Street Journal (the news division), CBS, and Bloomberg) of which are practically pro-Trump propaganda outlets.[23]

Rep. Gianforte's mugshot. Another man who knows nothing can touch him.

The way he treats journalists set a new norm for what is acceptable, which has a chilling trickle-down effect. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had a reporter arrested for asking him a basic question.[24] Greg Gianforte, a Montana Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, bodyslammed a Guardian reporter, and was charged with assault on the eve of an election.[25]

In July 2017, Trump sent out a tweet implying that he endorsed violence against the press, specifically, CNN.[26] Senator Pat Toomey had a reporter arrested for asking a "threatening" question not too long after.[27] South Dakota-based state Republican Lynne DiSanto shortly after that endorsed vehicular manslaughter against protesters by making light of a pro-violence meme on Facebook.[28] A week after that, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin argued that NFL players can "have free speech on their own time" as they protested police brutality by sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem.[29] Robert Jeffress, an evangelical advisor to Trump, even said the players were lucky they weren't "shot in the head".[30]

In December 2017, reports surfaced that Trump considered hiring Erik Prince and Oliver North in order create his own personal secret police to spy on the intelligence community.[31]

Trump and Pence at the RNC.

In 2018 Republican candidates, facing tougher than expected primaries, started emulating Donald Trump's authoritarian rhetoric and fascist scapegoating, as well as his glorification of violence. Candidates saying openly racist things, displaying thinly veiled xenophobia, attacking the media and calling for their political opponents to be locked up became the new norm.[32] These antics attracted literal Neo-Nazis like Paul Nehlen, Arthur Jones, and Patrick Little to electoral politics. They tried to maneuver within the party, hoping to win their primaries for 2018, despite Republicans' desperate attempts to distance themselves from scum like them.[33]

North Carolina's GOP super majority (pre-2019) was especially prone to authoritarian rhetoric and actions in this era. A bunch of constitutional amendments put on the ballot in 2018 had their names revoked to prevent people from learning what they even do[34] and their leader was even floating the idea of impeaching state Supreme Court justices if they ruled against legislative leaders in a lawsuit over constitutional amendments. This was especially important because the person suing the GOP in this wanted justices to remove two of the six amendments that Republicans wanted on the ballot, claiming that the ballot language is misleading. One would remove governors' power to appoint members to hundreds of state boards and commissions and give it to the Legislature. The other would limit a governor's ability to make appointments to fill judicial vacancies and force them to seek approval from the legislature.[35]

All of these things add up to have real world consequences. Prominent Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos advocated for vigilante squads to gun down journalists.[36][37] Two days later, an armed white gunman shot up a newspaper building and killed five reporters.[38] Sean Hannity, another Trump supporter, blamed an African American female Democrat for the shooting.[39] Trump chose not to lower US flags held in federal buildings in honor of reporters shot to death by the gunman.[40] In August 2018, a Trump supporter called in to CSPAN and threatened to assassinate two CNN pundits, Don Lemon and Brian Stelter, for criticizing Trump voters. According to Stelter, this wasn't the first time they were threatened with death by Trump supporters.[41]

Criminalizing protests[edit]

Trump and Pence at a memorial for fallen police officers.

Since Trump was elected, more than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations, in a move that UN experts have branded incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.[42]

Under Trump's stewardship, the FBI has targeted black activist and protest movements by smearing them as "black identity extremists," and claiming "alleged" police abuses are "fueling more violence" from the black community. This is false on its face, but it isn't the first time the FBI has cracked down on civil disobedience from the working class.[43]

Internet censorship[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Censorship

Trump signed a bill that was supposed to curb sex trafficking sites, but it was written so broadly that it allows prosecutors to order the immediate shutdown of a site or parts of it that fail to monitor the already hard-to-monitor comments, who are accused of soliciting for sex work. The long-standing Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act has allowed the internet to thrive on user-generated content without holding platforms and ISPs responsible for whatever users might create. However, with Trump's FOSTA-SESTA act, an exemption was made for sex trafficking, and many backers of the bill (including Disney and Fox) are now more likely to try to shut down all their competitors online.[44]

On May 27, 2020, Twitter (Trump's favorite social media platform to rant on, with dozens of often conspiratorial, angry, all-caps tweets and retweets per day being very common)[45][46] applied a fact-check warning to a Trump tweet for the first time. In response, Trump showed his respect for the First Amendment of the Constitution, by threatening to close down (or "strongly regulate") Twitter and other social media platforms for "silenc(ing) conservatives voices" (which somehow does not include the thousands of tweets Trump has spewed over the course of the presidency).[47] Many far-right conservatives, bots, and Russian disinformation campaign employees[48] went on Twitter via the usual far-right conservative Twitter news channels, and posted (on Twitter) support for shutting down Twitter. Because it was clearly a "far-left" platform to them... in spite of the far-right nature of the news feeds they were tweeting on, like Breitbart's Twitter feed,[49] the Daily Caller's Twitter feed,[50] and BitChute's Twitter feed[51].

The next day, on May 28th, because in the middle of the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak a petty temper tantrum against Twitter is of course the most presidential thing to do, Trump signed an executive order that attempted to get the FCCWikipedia to craft restrictions on Section 230 of the Communications Decency ActWikipedia to prevent online providers from "stifl(ing) viewpoints with which they disagree." (The executive order itself would, if posted to Twitter, need a fact-check warning, as it alludes to Trump's "Russian Collusion" as "long disputed" and a "Hoax".)[52] Section 230 is an important part of the user-generated Internet, as it limits the liability of online intermediaries that host or republish speech, protecting them from being held responsible for what others say and do.[53] Even Ben Shapiro thought that attacking Section 230 was an incredibly stupid idea — after all, if all intermediary liability protection was lifted, the net result might be stricter user generated material regulations, or even no user content sections at all, as providers would be much warier of letting content being freely posted given the additional liability risk. (For instance, a provider would wisely want to limit any chance that a bullshit artist like, say, Ben Shapiro, would post something criminally stupid.)[54][55] Indeed, such a policy might directly harm Trump himself by forcing Twitter to clamp down on his often-conspiratorial, untruthful Twitter feed.[56] Generally speaking, however, most legal experts believe that the executive order is illegal, against current case law, and is an attempt to circumvent Congress, so in the end it won't amount to anything but political theater.[57] The order does, however, show Trump's authoritarian wannabe side once again.

Personality and rhetoric[edit]

Strongman envy[edit]

Trump with Kim at the Singapore Summit.
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak... as being spit on by the rest of the world.
—Donald Trump on the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 1990 Playboy interview.[58]

Trump has a thing for autocrats in general, praising Kim Jong-un as a gentleman,[59] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for enshrining dictatorship into the Turkish constitution, Vladimir Putin for faintly complimenting him, Rodrigo Duterte for an extrajudicial drug war and martial law in a majority-Muslim province, Saddam Hussein for counter-terrorism, and even the Chinese government for the Tiananmen Square Massacre (equating that to "strength").

He sees power in the strongman, envies that power, relates to that power, and seeks to emulate that power, even though he ultimately cares little for their countries beyond any potential business ties that he may want from those autocrats.[60][61][62][63]

Demands for loyalty[edit]

Nobody disobeys my orders.
—Trump during the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll.[64]

Loyalty to authority is a predictor both support for authoritarianism[65] and for support for Trump.[66]

Trump hired a lobbyist to vet any and all State Department employees for their loyalty to the President, including verifying how far their policies differ from Trump (including searching through their social media to see if they've ever said anything anti-Trump).[67]

In a meeting with FBI Director Comey on January 27, 2017, shortly after inauguration, Trump unsuccessfully attempted to get Comey to pledge loyalty directly to Trump despite Comey's sworn loyalty to the Constitution. Comey was subsequently fired by Trump.[68]:3, 12, 24, 34-36, 47 74, 76, 82, 90 This was likely an attempt to obstruct justice by Trump.[68]:3, 7-8

In October 2020, Trump signed an executive order granting himself more leeway to hire and fire federal workers based on their loyalty or lack thereof to the President, which endangers the civil service as a whole on account of being hyper politicized and hollowed out as careerists get forced out of their jobs. [69]

Dehumanization[edit]

Trump signs the Muslim travel ban.
See the main articles on this topic: Other and Moral panic
Trump reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he were at a rally, he recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. [Stephen] Miller and [Jared] Kushner laughed.
[70]

Finding an enemy of whole groups of people is an easy way to get support from fringe extremists. Trump launched his campaign calling Mexicans criminals and rapists, and has spent at least half his presidency disparaging, mocking, and demeaning everyone else who offends him. By May 2018, however, he ramped up his scapegoating and repeatedly called certain criminal immigrants "animals". Removing the humanity of a person is incredibly dangerous, as it begins to build an impetus for whole groups, usually marginalized communities, to not only have their cries for help ignored, but regarded as "unhuman". Additionally, Trump's own incoherent language has prompted time-wasting arguments of what he really means; for instance, some moderates have interpreted his attack on Mexicans as "just the illegal immigrants and already-criminals" and the "animals" remark on just the Mexican MS-13 gang,[71] though the latter is not convincing. This is as much a trickle down effect as his spiels about the press and protesters, because calling some people from a group evil, claiming their evil justifies his policies, and conflating immigrants with Latinos and Latinos with criminals and criminals with animals will be a green light for his government to arrest or deport non-violent (even legal) immigrants with no criminal records.[72][73][74][75][76]

His recent rhetoric against gang members, for instance, spurred a "gang sweep" where unaccompanied teens with no gang ties were either being arrested or were in danger of being arrested by government officials who saw no difference between normal teens wearing certain clothes and gang members wearing those same clothes by coincidence.[77]

When Trump's policy of migrant family separation — a new policy unique to his administration — was confronted with immense public outrage, he doubled down and tripled down, saying he refused to let the country turn into a "migrant camp",[78] and accused immigrants of "infesting our country".[79][80][81] In just his second month of running for president in 2015, Trump said migrants were bringing "tremendous infectious disease" to the country.[82] The trickle-down effect is here yet again: migrant kids who were separated from their parents and detained can be heard wailing in agony at a Border Patrol facility, and a Border Patrol agent can be heard joking, "We have an orchestra here."[83] His Department of Health and Human Services stopped counting all the refugee families detained by federal authorities, potentially allowing for more abuses.[84] The forcible separation of children from their parents with potentially valid asylum claims is probably not a crime against humanity according to international law specialist David Luban of Georgetown Law because it likely does not meet the definition of "civilian population", though it is still a violation of human rights laws.[85]

Obstruction of justice and ignoring the rule of law[edit]

Swearing in of William Barr.
See the main article on this topic: Rule of law

Jeff Sessions was his first attorney general. Sessions is notorious for his racism and disdain for civil rights.[86][87] Sessions also got close to Russians and lied about that under oath when asked. Democrats called for his resignation.[88]

Trump fired Jeff Sessions immediately after the 2018 midterm elections. Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker became his acting replacement. Trump insisted that Sessions "should have never recused himself."[87] Whitaker, a GOP loyalist and Trump supporter[89] who worked for a company that was shut down and fined for scamming,[90] is of the opinion that the Special Counsel has overstepped his mandate by investigating Trump's finances.[87] Whitaker is openly critical of the investigation and asserted there was no evidence for collusion or Russian interference in 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.[91] Critics question his impartiality[92] and worried that Whitaker would be unwilling to protect the Special Counsel investigation from political interference.[89] Some top Democrats and protesters asked Whitaker to recuse himself, but this was unlikely and did not eventuate.[91] Meanwhile, legal scholars are debated the constitutionality and legality of Whitaker's appointment, as he has not been confirmed by the Senate. Once again, there were calls for legislation to protect the Special Counsel, this time from Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney (lately) of Utah.[93][94]

Trump considered firing Mueller (at least) twice. In August 2018, he tried to get Jeff Sessions to end the probe.[95] In any case, the more Mueller and his team investigated, the more evidence of wrongdoing they found.[96] Because this has been an ongoing investigation, Mueller and his team knew much more than what has been made public.[97] Given the charter of this Special Counsel and the nature of this investigation, it is clear that the Mueller probe must be allowed to reach its logical conclusion. Any attempt by Donald Trump or any of his associates to "fight back" may be considered obstruction of justice, as are the firing of James Comey,[97] and refusing to be interviewed by investigators.[98] Trump's steadfast refusal to cooperate with law enforcement may lead to the Special Counsel issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony before a grand jury. The situation might escalate into a (multi-year) legal battle between Trump's attorneys and Mueller's team.[99] In September 2018, the Mueller team reportedly stopped insisting on a personal interview and agreed to accept written answers from Trump.[100]

Trump has also attempted to violate the rule of law in 2018 with his acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Regarding this, incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said,[101]

The president of the United States is discussing a case in which he is implicated with the attorney general. That is wrong at every level. And, of course, it will taint anything that this acting attorney general does, any role he plays in this investigation. This is a real assault on the rule of law.

Pardon abuse[edit]

While all recent presidents have used their power to pardon and to commute sentences of people convicted of crimes, Trump has focused his pardoning power on people with personal or political ties to himself.[102] His commutation (and possible future pardoning) of Roger Stone is a subversion of the rule of law because Stone was convicted of crimes that directly benefited Trump (lying about contacts with Julian Assange, who served as a conduit for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election).[102] Given that Trump has frequently harped on being a 'law-and-order' president, some of his pardons are particularly hypocritical:[102]

Some of the pardoned crimes would seem to reflect Trump's own consciousness of guilt.[103]

The Stone case case is particularly abusive because the presidential pardon power is not absolute[104] and because it borders on a self-pardon, which the Justice Department itself in 1974 called unconstitutional (i.e., that no one may be their own judge and jury).[105][106]

Privatizing intelligence[edit]

In a military budget bill signed by the President, the law that first chartered the CIA "removed language requiring intelligence agencies to spend money according to Congress's instructions", and replaced it with "a provision that allows the agencies to move money around freely and without Congress's knowledge". This means that the already-paramilitary intelligence community, including the CIA, will now be privatized, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, had been pushing for "a private intelligence force" that would report directly, and only to Trump and (now ex-) CIA director Mike Pompeo.[107] For a man known to use private guards instead of the Secret Service, it is no surprise that Trump is eager to further entrench his own power and detachment from the rule of law.[108]

Abuse of power, promotion of violence, and support for police brutality[edit]

Trump at an Arizona rally.
See the main article on this topic: Police brutality

In many ways, Trump already has his wall: that of the police unions who endorsed him. By repeating the nonsensical "war on cops" rhetoric familiar in the right wing, he is framing the narrative of the police being an occupying force positively, and many police unions are cooperating with Trump on burying so-called "sanctuary cities" that protect immigrants from deportation. "Blue Lives Matter" laws are being pushed to prevent cops from being held liable for unwarranted deaths occurring on their watch or by their hands.[109] Michael German, a former FBI agent of the Brennan Center for Justice, even warned that Trump's endorsement, incitement, and glorification of violence as a solution to society's ills is a creeping authoritarianism that would expand the power of the police as a weapon against protesters.[110] Trump already publicly called on cops to be even more brutal on suspects[111] in a speech; scores of police chiefs and officers condemned him for it.[112] During a protest in Portland, Oregon, anti-fascists faced down white supremacists with the police, in full riot gear, physically separating the two groups. But then the police started cracking down on the anti-fascist counter-protesters, throwing flash-bang grenades at them while the white supremacists, the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer groups, cheered on the cops, who were so careless they almost killed a counter protester when one such flash bang grenade hit his head. Other counter protesters were hospitalized, including a reporter at the scene. Cops began chasing after anti-fascists, throwing flash-bangs and tear gas to disperse the crowds, again while the white supremacists cheered the police on.[113]

On Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017, hundreds of protesters, bystanders, and journalists were arrested and charged with "felony rioting".[114] At a Phoenix, Arizona rally, Trump's security forces tear gassed protesters who called attention to his anti-immigrant views.[115] The ACLU also sued police in Washington, D.C. for abusing protesters during Trump's inauguration, including denying detainees access to food and water, using "overwhelming and unlawful force" against non-violent demonstrators, enclosing more than 230 demonstrators, journalists, and legal observers during an anti-fascist bloc march, and even sexually assaulting detainees as a form of punishment and humiliation.[116][117] During a highway blockade by protesters in October 2017, Trump-aligned police in St. Louis, Missouri arrested anyone with a camera during peaceful protests, including people who weren't protesting. St. Louis police first targeted everyone who had been livestreaming the protests, including TYT journalist Jordan Chariton and cameraman/editor Ty Bayless; 200 people were arrested overall.[118][119][120] It isn't just cops either: violent neo-Nazi hate groups, particularly the Rise Above Movement physically assaulted protesters and journalists, with Trump's administration doing nothing to stop them, even as the RAM posted videos of their altercations online.[121]

Trump has often been fond of violence,[122] dating all the way back to the primary. He repeatedly suggested, encouraged, supported, or outright incited[123] violence from his supporters or from Trump-friendly police.[124][125][126] Even some of his supporters admitted that they felt emboldened to commit violent acts because of his rhetoric.[127][128] His campaign, stretching all the way back to the primary, was marked with violence from his supporters to anyone he personally disliked, usually protesters and minorities, but even journalists who were white males were assaulted by his more rabid followers.[129] This led to several judges allowing lawsuits against Trump for incitement of violence, with his lawyers arguing not that he didn't incite violence, but that he was "immune" from civil lawsuits.[130]

This is particularly dangerous because rhetoric is powerful and important, and when the leader of a country dehumanizes people he dislikes, it encourages and even mandates violence.[131] When a terrorist killed people in an attack on New York, Trump immediately called for execution, complaining that the justice system was a "joke" and it takes too long to administer punishment. Legal experts immediately sounded the alarms that the terrorist wouldn't have a fair trial if Trump's death penalty rhetoric continued.[132] The long-term consequences are hard to see, but his love of violence against his opponents is in itself a policy statement, because he is actively supporting police brutality to occur against protesters, repeatedly calling for violence, and expressing disappointment when it doesn't happen.[133] Critics have feared that the hitlist will expand.[134][135] A Breitbart journalist had her arm pulled to the floor by his first campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during the primary,[136] and he had one of his Secret Service bodyguards bodyslam a photographer during one of his rallies.[137][138] This has contributed to a growing fear that journalists and reporters will be targeted by his supporters.[139] This has already inspired Greg Gianforte to physically assault a reporter for asking him a question[140] and another Republican to call for lynching anyone who destroys Confederate monuments.[141]

As for abuse of power, Trump is using taxpayer money for his own personal benefit,[142] colluding with the Republican party to cover up his financial crimes (including to organized crime and oligarchs), plus getting world leaders to pay fees to Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower when they meet him,[143] awarding sweetheart federal contracts to businesses owned by pro-Trump donors,[144] drained money from the RNC to pay for legal bills against a corruption probe,[145] pardoned a corrupt sheriff who refused to follow a court order against his policies (and went against the Justice Department's own procedure by not even waiting for a formal conviction in a trial before the pardon),[146][147] pressuring the FBI Director to stop or impede a corruption investigation regarding his ties to Russian and American mobsters,[148] refusing to break free from severe conflicts of interest,[149][150][151][152] and using the bully pulpit to politicize the criminal justice system, disparage or punish members of the executive branch who won't toe his line, and attempt to humiliate private citizens who dare to speak out against him.[153]

Threatening martial law[edit]

Federal show of force outside the White House during the George Floyd protests.
[W]hen the looting starts, the shooting starts!
—President Trump apparently quoting segregationist Miami police Chief Walter Headley.[154]

When George Floyd was killed by a white copWikipedia on May 25, 2020, protests broke out all over the country in hundreds of cities, bringing back harrowing memories of the 1960s. Some looting and rioting ignited, but on-the-ground video footage confirmed cops are usually the ones starting the violence. Curfews were enacted in these cities by mayors looking to re-establish order. Trump, evoking his 2016 call for law and order (which brought to mind Richard Nixon), in an unprecedented move, personally and unequivocally called for the military to "dominate" the protesters (via the powers Trump has due to the Insurrection Act of 1807Wikipedia). He ordered hundreds of out-of-state National Guard members to patrol the streets of D.C. against the mayor's will[155] and deployed 1,600 active-duty troops on the capital’s doorstep.[156] When soldiers were going to be recalled back to their homebases, Trump's Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, overruled them and forced them back to the streets.[157] This use of the military as his personal weapon to bludgeon the people is a very dangerous precedent to set.[158] There's a stunning shot of soldiers standing sentinel at the Lincoln Memorial against peaceful masked protesters, in the middle of a pandemic, an image that will be remembered for years to come.[159]

This directly encouraged the police to intensify the crackdown by rounding up and assaulting peaceful protesters.[160][161][162] One infamous moment is when protesters were trapped on a hill and deliberately shot by teargassing cops.[163] More video evidence showed police shooting protesters near their own homes.[164] Cops shoved a 70 year old man on a concrete floor and walked over him as he lay there bleeding from his head motionless.[165]

Trump's constant bashing of news media over the years of his presidency was seen as possibly motivating many police forces to target journalists in particular, [166] with the Nieman Foundation for JournalismWikipedia documenting at least 140 attacks on journalists from May 28, 2020 to June 1, 2020. [167] The prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, demanded answers and called for an investigation, after two journalists for Australia's Channel 7Wikipedia were attacked by American police while they were live on air reporting a protest near the White House. A spokesman for Channel 7, Craig McPherson, called the attack "nothing short of wanton thuggery". [168] In Minneapolis, CNN reporter Omar JimenezWikipedia was arrested by riot police while he was also live on air[169], for no apparent reason other than his skin color wasn't white. [170] Analysis showed about 148 arrests or attacks on reporters and journalists during the George Floyd protests.[171]

Gassing peaceful protesters[edit]

Trump posing with the Bible after having peaceful protesters attacked by federal agents.

On Monday, June 1 2020, Trump used the police to beat up and tear-gas peaceful protesters so he could clear the way to walk to St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette SquareWikipedia in Washington DC, in order to take a photo-op of him holding a Bible in front of the church (as if it were a trophy or something).[172][173] This pissed off the diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Mariann BuddeWikipedia who was outraged that he used tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard, and then had the audacity to hold a Bible, "the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition", in his hand for a staged photo op, on "one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for".[174] Joining in solidarity with this opinion from the Catholic side was the Archbishop of Washington, Wilton Daniel GregoryWikipedia, who stated that the Pope "certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace." [175]

Trump's admirers, of course, are convinced that Jesus would also have tear gassed peaceful protesters (including clergy members of St. John's who were watching protesters and dispensing medical supplies to them)[176] in order to use the Bible as a prop for a political stunt. Dallas fundamentalist pastor Robert Jeffress, for instance, appreciated "what the president did and the message he was sending" and called it a "historic moment in his presidency[note 2], especially when set against the backdrop of nights of violence throughout our country." Democracy scholars and many political commentators, on the other hand, saw the stunt as dangerously authoritarian and an affront to American values. [177][178] Recognizing this, one senior defense official, James N. MillerWikipedia, resigned immediately afterward in protest. [179]

"Trump doesn’t quote anything from the Bible. He really just uses it as a pure symbol of partisan identity...Authoritarianism frequently comes veiled in religion."
Katherine StewartWikipedia[177]

Trump's actions were strongly condemned by former defense secretary Jim MattisWikipedia[180][181] and the seventeenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike MullenWikipedia[182]. The Secretary of Defense at the time, Mark EsperWikipedia, reversed an earlier decision to use active-duty troops to respond to the civil unrest. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark A. MilleyWikipedia, released a memo to top commanders reminding that the Constitution "gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly", and that those in uniform must "remain committed to our national values and principles", in a clear rebuke to Trump's actions. [183] Milley later apologized for walking with Trump for the above photo-op. [184] Many other military officers echoed this general sentiment in criticizing Trump.[185] This entire incident caused researchers to confirm this is tantamount to "state-sanctioned violence" and that American police over the decades have consistently violated human rights. [186] The soldiers sent to protect police who committed said human rights violations were even given bayonets, for some reason.[187] Even outlets run by Trump's own friends could not deny the extreme human rights abuses conducted under his watch with - crucially - his direct personal encouragement.[188] Global response to Trump's actions amounted to people warning his actions will cause untold damage to America's democratic institutions.[189]

Secret police tactics and kidnappings[edit]

Bloodied protester hauled away by unidentified federal police in Portland.

In mid July 2020, Homeland Security under Trump sent masked, unnamed, badge-less federal law enforcement officers to stalk and detain protesters in unmarked vans with no explanation in Portland, Oregon, effectively kidnapping people for exercising their First Amendment rights.[190]. At least 13 people were charged by Homeland Security, again without explanation, outraging Oregon officials such as Governor Kate Brown and Senator Ron Wyden.[191] He had already used unidentified security forces during the George Floyd protests previously.[192] Video evidence shows federal agents from Border Patrol, of all fucking things, conducting these arrests and detentions. There is no purpose for Border Patrol agents to be sent to Portland, Oregon, unless you're trying to secure the border between Oregon and the Pacific Ocean. Demonstrators who were released gave personal corroboration of these experiences; they were peaceful protesters performing civil disobedience like graffiti on federal property, not burning or damaging federal property in any way.[193] [note 3] A bunch of middle aged women, some of whom were pregnant, formed a "Wall of Moms" to protest Homeland Security for their conduct towards children. Homeland Security responded by tear-gassing some 100 mothers in retaliation. Chicago is apparently next, alongside perhaps several other Democratic Party-controlled cities.[196]

Homeland Security officials brazenly defended these kidnappings live on television once confronted by the media over it. Homeland Security also implied that other cities with Black Lives Matter protesters are likely to be targeted by federal agents with similar military-grade gear and weaponry (otherwise known as soldiers) for similar kidnappings.[197] Leaked memos not only confirmed Border Patrol, sent by Homeland Security, conducted arrests, but also that these Homeland Security goon squads will be deployed indefinitely and in undisclosed locations, with drones "on standby to assist as needed."[198] Video evidence shows these goons attacking peaceful protesters without provocation,[199] even stooping to the level of beating Navy veterans with batons[200], tear-gassing a local county commissioner,[201] tear-gassing Portland's mayor,[202] and tear-gassing a group of protesting mothers.[203] Trump, it was revealed, had specifically authorized this from an executive order protecting federal property such as monuments and statues from protesters. He has indicated he will increase the use of unmarked federal police under Homeland Security.[204] Meanwhile, Trump's actions seemed to have energized much of the city of Portland behind the protesters, [205] and the attorney general of Oregon and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Trump's pseudo-martial-law posturing. [206] For a force allegedly sent in to mitigate the protests, they sure seemed to do a great job in escalating the situation. [207]

A leaked memo from the Justice Department has confirmed President Trump authorized warrantless surveillance on protesters all across the country, collecting information on anyone who may "vandalize" statues of Confederate monuments. Every single protester is now a target of illegal surveillance under the Trump administration.[208][209] He publicly announced the deployment of a "surge" of his secret police to Chicago, specifically because it is controlled by Democrats whom he blames for "allowing" violence to run rampant in the city.[210] In New York City, the NYPD, taking cues from Homeland Security as well as the NYPD's own decades-long history of committing such kidnappings, suddenly attacked a young female protester and threw her into an unmarked vehicle, sparking outrage even from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to criticize the NYPD for the brazen trampling of someone's civil liberties.[211]

Oregon's Attorney General requested for a temporary restraining order against Homeland Security, which would have stopped the Trump administration from unlawfully detaining protesters. A judge appointed by George W. Bush declined the temporary restraining order, effectively signing off on secret police tactics as described earlier.[212] This incident proved Vice's earlier analysis of why cities won't be able to stop Trump's secret police correct.[213] A second judge also lifted a restraining order on the Seattle police department, which means they can now, against the wishes of the Seattle City Council, use tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets as well as other such crowd control methods against protesters. [214] Federal authorities are using a type of lawfare (law warfare) against protesters by arresting them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and telling protesters they cannot protest anymore as a condition for release from jail. In effect, this is the Trump administration arresting their political opponents and blackmailing them into willfully eschewing their ability to protest forever in exchange for releasing them.[215]

It came to light that these secret police tactics were authorized much earlier than anticipated. In December 2019, the Department of Justice announced “Operation Relentless Pursuit" under Attorney General Bill Barr, designed to “increase the number of federal law enforcement officers and bulk up federal task forces in Detroit, Memphis, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Albuquerque.” This is in conjunction with Operation Legend, again deployed under Barr, which sends federal law enforcement to aid local police in fighting a supposed “sudden surge of violent crime,” such as (allegedly) Kansas City. Right wingers of all stripes, from analysts and reporters to government officials, have defended not only such police brutality, but blatant lawbreaking on the part of the Trump administration and Homeland Security. Such names as Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all explicitly decried the President of the United States as a fascist, with Kaul in particular saying "there is no more accurate way to describe this administration’s repeated resort to and incitement of racism, xenophobia, and violence." [216] All these abuses of power and brazen authoritarianism against explicitly pro-minority rights movements and antifascist sentiment has caused even sitting public officials, from senators to attorney generals, to decry Trump's behavior as fascist.[217] Even scholars of fascism have warned that "Fascism can happen in America. Some of it has already happened, and more will happen as Trump fights to stay in power."[218]

This did not come out of nowhere, as Homeland Security was designed more or less explicitly to terrorize Muslims, immigrants, and other such populations outside the purview of the law. When it was created, Homeland Security took control of FEMA, Customs and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which meant it has disaster relief authority, discretion over immigration, and the power to enforce anti-drug laws. As the law explicitly forbids the Armed Forces from conducting domestic police actions, Homeland Security's mandate as a counter-terrorism apparatus allows President Trump to use this paramilitary department on domestic land because “preventing terrorist attacks” can mean "pretty much whatever the president says it means, including teargassing protesters to protect federal buildings from meanies." [219]

Death penalty[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Death penalty

For the first time since Bush in 2003, Trump signed off on a federal execution of a convicted inmate in 2020, ignoring civil and human rights lawyers, groups, and families of the inmates who fought to delay or stop the executions. The Supreme Court signed off on both executions again over the objections of rights lawyers.[220][221]

Endorsement of right-wing political violence[edit]

Due to the unrest throughout 2020, clashes between right wingers and left wingers became more frequent, with one memorable incident occurring between Patriot Prayer member Aaron Danielson and self-proclaimed anti-fascist Michael Reinoehl, who got into a gun fight. Reinoehl killed Danielson, which he claims was in self defense. Reinoehl, a few days later, was ambushed by the US Marshals and killed without warning, without provocation, and without explanation, with the Marshals outright lying about the encounter. Many news outlets compared this to an extrajudicial killing. President Trump himself outright endorsed and supported Reinoehl's killing, saying "that's the way it has to be," and that "there has to be retribution."[222][223][224][225][226][227] Trump would later openly admit he sent the U.S. Marshals specifically after Reinoehl and heavily implied he personally ordered the man to be executed.[228][229]

His fomenting of right wing extremism reached its peak by the first presidential debate in October. When asked if he could denounce white supremacists, given the racist Proud Boys as a direct example, Trump said "Stand back and stand by," which caused the phrase to be printed on shirts for the Proud Boys, who adored the President's de facto call to action.[230][231][232]

The consequences of Trump's rhetoric spread throughout the country. A right wing, anti-government militia group of 13 white men were arrested by the FBI for planning and attempting to kidnap the female Democratic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, who directly blamed Trump's rhetoric for inciting white supremacists. This is not without basis, as Trump, who exclusively refers to Whitmer as "the woman in Michigan," once declared in April, "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"[233] Even though no evidence points to them being pro-Trump per se, they all loathed Whitmer's response to the coronavirus, parroting Trump's rhetoric that the economy should not be shut down to combat COVID-19, and actions taken to stop COVID are tantamount to "violating the US Constitution." The militia men planned to kidnap and possibly kill a bunch of policemen as well.[234][235][236][237]

Voter intimidation and brutalization[edit]

North Carolina police suddenly and inexplicably attacked a bunch of people mobilizing to vote for the 2020 election. Cops pepper sprayed the group of about 200 people, including a five year old and a three year old. Prior to the violence committed by police, the voters had honored George Floyd just a few moments prior. Floyd's niece was scheduled to speak at the event but was unable to due to the mayhem. It is very probable that cops attacked these voters due to their support of George Floyd. [238]

Another incident occurred when a caravan of Trump supporters in cars surrounded and threatened a Biden/Harris bus and allegedly tried running the bus off the road. [239] Trump explicitly saw the video and cheered his supporters on for threatening his opponents, who had to cancel the planned event due to the caravan. [240]

Police state against immigrants and refugees[edit]

ICE abuses[edit]

See the main article on this topic: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as part of their unprecedented powers under Trump, will now be able to track down license plates as they search for undocumented immigrants.[241] It also wants to join the intelligence community with powers comparable to the NSA or FBI, but they've only gained serious traction under Trump.[242] Due to immigration being a broad issue, ICE has counter-proliferation, money laundering, counterterror, and cybercrime operations already under their belt; however, if they join the spook group, they would gain the power of warrantless surveillance and borderline paramilitary authority as potentially part of Homeland Security.[243][244] ICE already has worked to strip citizenship from naturalized Americans without already being a spook agency.[245]

ICE even began arresting lawful permanent residents, not just undocumented immigrants.[246] ICE has tripled the number of undocumented immigrants arrested without criminal records, does so by "sweeping the streets and rounding up likely immigrants."[247]

In North Carolina, this has yet another chilling trickle-down effect. 20 legal immigrants and permanent residents were arrested for "illegally" voting due to confusion and misdirection and not because of some conspiracy to commit a crime. They "could still be convicted and imprisoned" — or even deported ― without the Justice Department proving they intended to break the law.[248]

Zero tolerance and punitive policies[edit]

Trump meeting with Border Patrol agents to ask them if they can't be just a bit rougher when they detain people, please?

Trump reportedly wants to "close the border", whatever that means. His sheer disdain for immigration is legendary, and his policies, according to Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, are punitive, ruthless, vindictive, and based almost solely on cruelty for the sake of intimidating marginalized communities.[249][250] His harsh rhetoric and reactionary policies have emboldened some within his government into committing fear-based murders of immigrants at worst, as you will soon see, and in another case, incompetence merging with apathy as the government grows further indifferent to the lives of immigrants no matter their age or fate.

A Border Patrol agent admitted he opened fire on a group of people he thought were immigrants rushing toward him. One named Claudia Gonzalez, an indigenous woman from Guatemala studying at a university, was shot in the head by the agent.[251]

Family separation and abuse of children[edit]

ICE, which is now infamous for breaking up families at an astonishing rate,[252] sent close to 1,500 children to the Department of Health and Human Services for further processing, all of whom suddenly went missing. Its policy was to transfer these now-alone children into sponsors, who would then take care of the kids, but these sponsors often have no relation to the children, and the government - as exemplified by John Kelly's "foster care or whatever" comment - doesn't really care too much what happens after. And yet, they still lost track of nearly 1,500 children, with the HHS even declaring the government was not "legally responsible" for them. [253][254][255]

Woman and child to be processed at a detention center.

A unique hallmark of Trump's presidency has been to separate families for crossing the border,[256] which has caused at least one instance of a refugee committing suicide after being torn away from their family members.[257] This is known as "zero tolerance policy," which the media has bypassed in favor of the more scathing and accurate "separating kids from their parents" sadism.[258] Attorney General Jeff Sessions restricted asylum access for victims of gang and domestic violence. He says this is to reduce illegal immigration. This has been derided as needlessly cruel.[259] Migrant kids who were separated from their families, including one parent who lost her kid while breastfeeding them, are put in a detention facility owned by a private company, and ICE treats them like prisoners (including only two hours outside the facility per day for each kid).[260]

Detained children in a Customs and Border Protection facility.

The Trump administration established concentration camps for migrant children,[261][262] and identified their first internment camp in Texas on the anniversary of his campaign for president.[263] Given Trump's campaign-era support for FDR's internment camps, this should be no surprise.[264][265][266] This exact policy of separation and detention inevitably causes devastating psychological stress, even mental illness for the kids.[267] Children are put in cages,[268][269] fenced away from the guards and their parents, and are treated like prisoners, forced to wear yellow wristbands — a Bush-era policy — for identification.[270] In a Border Patrol warehouse in Texas, hundreds of children were detained in small cages made by metal fencing, including 20 kids in one cage. This facility is divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. No reporters are allowed near it.[271] As you might expect, some state-run detention facilities have conditions so bad, "children were running away, screaming, throwing furniture and attempting suicide."[272] Trump's 2017 federal hiring freeze has left many prisons, detention centers, and internment camps understaffed, leading to an increase in prison violence.[273][274]

It goes further. Toddlers, or "children at tender ages" were being separated from their families and put in one of three to four detention facilities with no regard for the resultant psychological trauma.[275][276][277] There's even a lawsuit alleging children were forcibly injected with drugs against their wishes; some were left unable to walk and fearful of others as they experienced pain that they didn't understand. This was going on before Trump, due to an old policy of outsourcing detention to private prisons.[278] He's alluded to the victims of his policies being "crisis actors".[279]

After weeks of widespread public and political outrage, Trump signed an executive order ending family separation, which ultimately meant that instead of just kids in concentration camps, whole families will be in concentration camps, and he'll do next to nothing to stop the kids who were already separated and detained.[280][281] His executive order still leaves the Zero Tolerance policy in effect.[282] Leaked memos revealed Trump had always planned on housing immigrants in concentration camps (which he calls tent cities), whether through separation or family detention.[283]

More children detained by US Customs and Border Protection. Those floor mats look comfy!

It was later revealed by MSNBC that the Trump administration never actually stopped their separation policy. Instead of separating them by default, they force refugees to choose between leaving the country with their kids (self-deportation) or leaving the country without them.[284] Immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged.[285] Migrant kids kept in these concentration camps are reportedly being drugged to make them more compliant and numb, and denied water as a form of punishment.[286]

Inhumane detention centers[edit]

Thousands of detainees are being sent to at least one federal prison where conditions are so bad and staff are so underfunded, medical officials in the prison warn that the detainees will die.[287] Trump also confirmed he and his administration wants to deport people without any due process.[288] A man diagnosed with a mental illness was put in solitary confinement, internationally recognized as a form of torture, before taking his life.[289] A child kept in an ICE detention camp died due to negligence from the guards, it has been alleged as well.[290]

Pregnant women detained by ICE under Trump have been denied medical care, shackled around the stomach, and abused; some had miscarriages, and were not given any help or care at all.[291] Further torture, such as forcible strips, physical assault, and drinking toilet water, was committed by the guards to the children.[292]

Overcrowded conditions in a Texas Border Patrol station.

The Trump administration, by September 2018, will now ignore a federal court agreement that "strictly limits" the conditions under which authorities can detain migrant children. Tens of thousands more immigrants will be detained for longer and under quicker procedures than before, arguing these "legal loopholes" hinder executive policy. By ditching the Flores agreement, the Trump administration will oversee new detention centers that will house an additional 12,000 immigrants, including children, possibly indefinitely.[293][294][295]This means Trump is actively shredding the rule of law, and much like Andrew Jackson before him, is set to simply ignore judicial rulings that do not agree with him.[296][297]

Even Christian refugees aren't being allowed to enter the country, despite promises from the president himself that he'd protect them. The number of Christian refugees granted entry into the U.S. has dropped by more than 40 percent over the past year, and Iraqi Christians are among those being put in detention camps under the Trump administration.[298]

The living conditions, such as they are, in these migrant camps are utterly appalling. ICE agents have been using products that, whether deliberately or not, caused bleeding, burns, and pain, which in layman's terms is tantamount to torture.[299] With the advent of the Coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, these cramped conditions are at risk of becoming hotbeds of the disease.[300][301] As expected, COVID cases surged in these ICE camps with barely any sanitation or ability to adequately prevent these cases from spreading. Several are at risk of dying to the disease.[302] ICE is but one example of how the entire detention system is a vector for the virus to spread due to generally horrific living conditions everywhere from public to private prisons.[303] ICE in fact was revealed to have ignored court orders from judges, guidelines from the CDC, and suggestions from the Justice Department to free detainees, kept people in detention, in one case by transferring over 70 prisoners to a private prison (with even less oversight and regulation on how they treat detainees), and as a result, caused an outbreak of COVID.[304]

The American dream.

Rather than actually give a shit, Trump has instead used the coronavirus to further restrictions on immigrants and refugees by using his executive power to "temporarily shutter the refugee resettlement program, lock down the US-Mexico border, suspend asylum processing, and push children fleeing danger back into Mexico. Invoking what he has allegedly called his “magical authority,” Trump’s latest move, after threatening to stop all immigration, was a 60-day suspension of visa issuances, with some broad exceptions for health care workers, investors, plus spouses or young children of citizens or green card holders." [305]

Violence against detainees[edit]

A series of human rights violations occur regularly at Winn Correctional Center, an ICE detention camp in Louisiana. ICE guards regularly deployed teargas against detainees and refugees. One particularly gruesome incident occurred when the ICE guards threw a bunch of detainees in a room, shot them with teargas, then closed the door, which human rights lawyers compared to the gas chambers. Sending tear gas into a dormitory with COVID-19 patients, which means they will cough a lot, will absolutely increase the risk of COVID being spread.[306] Another incident happened in Virginia, when ICE flew detainees to D.C. so planes could send agents to crack down on protesters, it caused a huge outbreak in COVID.[307] At least 5000 contracted COVID while in detention camps run by ICE, with 800 over a single week. [308]

Mass sterilization[edit]

In September, Dawn Wooten blew the whistle on a truly disgusting practice being committed under ICE. At a private prison in Georgia, operated by ICE, they refused to test inmates for COVID, continually downplay the very well COVID-like symptoms several inmates have exhibited, may even throw people in solitary confinement if they report having COVID, hired nurses who proved to be negligent or perfunctory care for sick detainees, allowed nurses to shred and ignore “sick call” sheets, kept piling more and more people into these cramped spaces, and had "written up" when nurses and other employees complained about the practices of the ICE prison, including a culture of racism. The whistleblower, Wooten, filed another complaint alleging "'jarring medical neglect' within the facility, including an exorbitant rate of hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women." According to Wooten, multiple women were forced to undergo a surgery in which all or part of the uterus is removed (which is the point of a hysterectomy), with several of the detainees likening their treatment at this prison to a Nazi concentration camp. ICE also monitors teenagers' menstrual cycles, very creepily.[309][310] America has a history of sterilizations and eugenics towards prisoners and detainees, especially if they're immigrants.[311] Mass sterilization is internationally recognized as outright Genocide.

And unsurprisingly, when China's authoritarian leader Xi Jinping told him that China is building camps to intern their Uighur minority, with their own fair share of mass sterilizations, Trump not only told him to go ahead, but egged Xi on and told him that "it is exactly the right thing to do".[312]

Contempt for democracy[edit]

Election rigging[edit]

As a man who consistently, all the way in 2015, suggested he would never accept any results that did not end in him winning, Trump actually still did not accept the results of the 2016 election even though he won, because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by around three million votes. Come September 2020, Trump outright confirmed he would not allow for a peaceful transition of power to Joe Biden because if you "get rid of the ballots," the President said, "there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation."[313] More reports came out detailing that the Trump campaign and administration actually have plans to steal the election in 2020. For instance, if Biden wins, say, Florida by only one to two percent, Trump will then claim the vote was illegitimate and he will call on the governor to send an entirely new group of electors to send to the Electoral College. For context, the Governor of Florida is Ron DeSantis, a Republican whom Trump endorsed over progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018. To make matters worse, because the last three liberal justices faced mandatory retirement right as DeSantis defeated Gillum, the Florida Supreme Court is now completely stacked with right wing Justices who are not guaranteed to rule in favor of allowing more votes to be counted after Election Day. These new DeSantis-approved, Trump-supporting electors would then to go the Electoral College in December, a month after the election, and cast their votes for Trump over Biden even though, in this scenario, Florida voted for Biden over Trump. The Constitution has absolutely no counter to an outright rigging of the Electoral College, meaning this would be entirely legal, especially since the Supreme Court would now have a six-three conservative majority after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.[314][315] Lawrence Tribe, the chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, outright said "It is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution."[316] Four straight years, he complained about election fraud, and the campaign plans to use election fraud, no matter how insignificant, as the linchpin to steal as many swing states as possible so Trump could defeat Biden.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in a brazen attempt to skew the election to Trump, ordered the limiting the amount of drop-off locations for mail-in ballots to one site per county, which greatly reduces the Democratic vote share as Democrats are more likely to use mail-in ballots than Republicans. Abbott's order also allows poll watchers to "observe the in-person delivery of mail-in ballots by voters," but critics say it could "severely limit access for many voters."[317]

Senator Rick Scott, former Governor of Florida, proposed a bill he named "Help America Vote Act of 2020," which would prevent the counting of ballots beyond election day, a move that would eliminate countless absentee and vote-by-mail ballots that are still waiting to be counted. This is a brazen attempt to stop Democratic votes from being counted, completely contradicting the very name of Scott's bill. This bill would prevent early vote counting until Election Day, thereby stopping all then-current early vote tallies, and would only give 24 hours for each mail-in and absentee ballot to be counted, which is virtually impossible, preventing untold millions of votes from counting to the final result.[318] Utah Senator Mike Lee, showing just how committed Senate Republicans are to winning at all costs, outright said "Democracy isn't the objective."[319]

Let's say Scott's bill doesn't get passed. The other way Trump plans to potentially steal the election is through the courts, which he has stacked with hundreds of his minions. The Trump and Reagan judges on an appeals court ruled, by a 2 to 1 margin, that Wisconsin mail ballots cannot be counted after election day on November 3rd, 2020, which will fundamentally disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin voters, particularly Democrats, who are "more likely than Trump voters to cast mail ballots." [320]

In early October, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trump by bringing back a signature requirement for absentee ballots with witnesses in South Carolina, meaning the South Carolina legislature can legally throw out ballots if these signatures are not an exact match, meaning a single crooked line could be enough to invalidate your vote.[321] By late October, the Supreme Court ruled against allowing Wisconsin to count mail-in ballots received after Election Day.[322]

Response to 2018 midterm results[edit]

Democrats made major gains in the 2018 midterm elections, winning at least 40 net seats in the House of Representatives (the most for the party since 1974) and seven governorships. The results in the Senate were better for the GOP, which managed to net two seats, but only because Democrats were defending the vast majority of seats up for election (including several in deep red states like North Dakota and Missouri). While there is some debate about exactly why the Democrats did so well in 2018, there’s little question that Trump’s unpopular policies and abrasive, bigoted behavior contributed to Republican losses.[323]

Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and other previous presidents who suffered midterm defeats responded by adopting a more bipartisan tone and appealing to voters across the aisle.[324] Trump, on the other hand, has reacted by doubling down on his ridiculous policy demands, bizarre and bigoted comments, and authoritarian threats. Since the midterms, he has:

  • Shut down the Federal government over his wall for 35 days, the longest shutdown in U.S. history.[325]
  • Declared a national emergency in an attempt to unilaterally build the aforementioned border wall using funds from the military and other executive agencies.[326]
  • Announced that if House Democrats try to investigate him, he will make the Senate investigate Democrats right back, a threat that does not make him look guilty in any way, shape, or form[327]
  • Threatened to cut off FEMA funds to California unless the state “gets their act together” on controlling forest fires, a threat that suggests Trump understands neither the effects of climate change nor how Federal lands are managed[328]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. The windmills will give you CANCER!
  2. Indeed it is a historic moment in Trump's presidency, but not for the reasons Jeffress thinks it is
  3. Of course, those who watch conservative media such as Fox News and One America News Network (or even the National Review, shamefully)[194] would be under a different impression. As usual, these type of conservative outlets have been cherry-picking protest footage and incidents in order to make things look like the entire city is in a crisis. Reality has been, the protests were relatively small until the feds stepped in, with only a handful of violent agitators to worry about.[195]

References[edit]

  1. Trump says his ‘authority is total.’ Constitutional experts have ‘no idea’ where he got that. The Washington Post 14 April 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 This is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning. by Dana Milbank (September 25, 2020 at 11:14 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post
  3. Donald Trump and the New Dawn of Tyranny Time 3 March 2017
  4. The Cowardly Face of Authoritarianism The New York Times 3 December 2018
  5. Donald Trump’s Media Enemies List Mother Jones 16 March 2016
  6. 'The Blacklist': Here are the media outlets banned by Donald Trump CNN Business 14 June 2016
  7. Team Trump tangles with the press Politico 19 November 2015
  8. Donald Trump’s Restrictions On The Press Reach Chilling New Low HuffPost 28 July 2016
  9. Breitbart Reporter Files Criminal Complaint Against Trump’s Campaign Manager Mother Jones 11 March 2016
  10. Reporter Covering Inauguration Protests Now Faces 75 Years in Prison The Daily Beast 9 June 2017
  11. Reporters face 70 years in prison over anti-Trump march Aljazeera 20 June 2017
  12. Trump protesters could be facing decades in prison for inauguration demonstrations Salon 2 June 2017
  13. SA Photojournalist Alexei Wood Found Not Guilty on All 7 Inauguration Day Charges by Alex Zielinski (Dec 21, 2017 at 11:47 AM) San Antonio Current.
  14. SFR Journalist’s Charges Dropped: Aaron Cantú and other inauguration day protesters no longer face criminal charges (July 6, 2018) Santa Fe Reporter.
  15. Spicer: Inauguration had largest audience ever from the YouTube channel CNN 21 January 2017
  16. Trump claims media 'dishonest' over crowd photos BBC News 22 January 2017
  17. Trump's inauguration crowd: Sean Spicer's claims versus the evidence The Guardian 22 January 2017
  18. Donald Trump's team in fresh war of words with US media BBC News 23 January 2017
  19. Donald Trump's team defends 'alternative facts' after widespread protests The Guardian 23 January 2017
  20. 'Alternative facts' are just lies, whatever Kellyanne Conway claims The Guardian 24 January 2017
  21. Donald Trump is the sole reliable source of truth, says chair of House Science Committee Vox 27 January 2017
  22. Trump’s 'fake news' mantra a hit with despots Politico 8 December 2017
  23. Trump Intensifies His Attacks on Journalists and Condemns F.B.I. ‘Leakers’ The New York Times 24 February 2017
  24. I was arrested for asking Tom Price a question. I was just doing my job. The Washington Post 16 May 2017
  25. Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter The Guardian 25 May 2017
  26. Trump Marks Independence Day Weekend With Fantasy About Beating Up Journalists HuffPost 2 July 2017
  27. Man arrested for asking 'threatening' question at GOP senator's town hall The Hill 6 September 2017
  28. South Dakota Republican posts meme supporting running over protesters Salon 20 September 2017
  29. Steve Mnuchin: NFL players "can do free speech on their own time" abc News 4 24 September 2017
  30. Trump Evangelical Adviser: NFL Kneelers Are Lucky They Aren’t ‘Shot In The Head’ HuffPost 25 September 2017
  31. Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter “Deep State” Enemies The Intercept 5 December 2017
  32. GOP candidates are now mimicking Trump’s authoritarianism. That’s ominous. The Washington Post 23 April 2018
  33. Opinion: Look what crawled out from under Trump’s rock The Washington Post 12 July 2018
  34. NC Republicans change what voters will see on ballots about their amendments The News & Observer 24 July 2018
  35. NC GOP leader raises possibility of impeaching justices over amendment ruling The News & Observer 17 August 2018
  36. Milo Yiannopoulos called for 'gunning journalists down on sight,' says it was 'private joke' USA Today 28 June 2018
  37. Milo wants vigilantes to start killing journalists, and he's not being 'ironic' Southern Poverty Law Center 27 June 2018
  38. Maryland shooting: At least five dead as gunman opens fire at Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis The Independent 28 June 2018
  39. Sean Hannity Blames Maxine Waters For Capital Gazette Shooting HuffPost 28 June 2018
  40. Annapolis mayor: Trump declines request to lower US flags after Capital Gazette shootings The Hill 2 July 2018
  41. C-SPAN Caller Threatens ‘To Shoot’ CNN Hosts Brian Stelter And Don Lemon HuffPost 5 August 2018
  42. Anti-protest bills would 'attack right to speak out' under Donald Trump The Guardian 8 May 2017
  43. The FBI’s New U.S. Terrorist Threat: ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Foreign Policy 6 October 2017
  44. A new law intended to curb sex trafficking threatens the future of the internet as we know it Vox 2 July 2018
  45. Trump Twitter Archive, a searchable database for all of Trump's tweets)
  46. "Trump Loses His Mother’s Day Mind, Topping 100 Twitter Shares So Far" by Peter Wade, Rolling Stone, 2020 May 10
  47. "After Twitter Fact-Checks Donald Trump's Tweet, President Threatens to Close Down Social Media Platforms" by James Walker, Newsweek, 2020 May 27
  48. "Twitter Vows That As Disinformation Tactics Change, Its Policies Will Keep Pace" by Aubri Juhasz, NPR, 2020 March 4
  49. "President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned far-Left Big Tech to stop silencing conservatives on their platforms or face a stiff penalty.", @BreitbartNews, tweet, 2020 May 27, archived on 2020 27 May
  50. "Twitter Fact-Checks Trump For The First Time After He Claims Mail-In Ballots Will Be ‘Fraudulent.’", @DailyCaller Twitter feed, 27 May 2020, archived on 27 May 2020
  51. "A post by United States President Donald Trump has been given a fact-check label by Twitter for the first time #Election2020", @bitchute Twitter feed, 27 May 2020, archived on 27 May 2020
  52. "Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship" issued on May 28, 2020, Whitehouse.gov
  53. "CDA230: The Most Important Law Protecting Internet Speech", EFF.org
  54. "Here's the inevitable effect of destroying §230 of the CDA: all comments sections will be taken down. No website has the resources to actively edit all comments in order to shield themselves from liability, and no website is willing to leave comments entirely standards-free.". @benshapiro, Twitter, 28 May 2020
  55. "Donald Trump's move against Twitter factchecking could backfire" by Alex Hern, The Guardian, 2020 May 28
  56. "Trump’s Order on Social Media Could Harm One Person in Particular: Trump" by Peter Baker and Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, 2020 May 28
  57. "Trump signs order that could punish social media companies for how they police content, drawing criticism and doubts of legality" by Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 2020 May 28
  58. Trump said China showed 'the power of strength' when talking about the Tiananmen Square massacre in a 1990 Playboy interview Business Insider 4 June 2019
  59. Stephen Colbert Is Pretty Sure Trump Doesn’t Know Who Kim Jong Un Is: After an interview in which the president refused to refer to the North Korean dictator by name, late night had a field day. by Laura Bradley (April 19, 2017 10:05 am) Vanity Fair.
  60. Why Trump is reaching out and even praising dictators: It’s strategy Los Angeles Times 2 May 2017
  61. Donald Trump's History of Praising Dictators NBC News 6 July 2016
  62. President Trump has a long history of praise for autocrats, dictators and strongmen CNN 18 April 2017
  63. 5 Controversial Dictators and Leaders Donald Trump Has Praised ABC News 6 July 2016
  64. Trump says 'nobody disobeys my orders.' Here are 15 recorded instances of exactly that. by Aaron Blake (April 22 at 1:08 PM) The Washington Post.
  65. Loyalty and Acquiescence: Authoritarian Regimes and Inequality Outcomes by Jonathan K. Hanson (August 2013) 2010 APSA Annual Meeting Paper. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1642485.
  66. A strange but accurate predictor of whether someone supports Donald Trump by Max Ehrenfreund (February 1, 2016) The Washington Post.
  67. Lobbyist turned wine blogger vetting UN, State personnel for loyalty to Trump: report The Hill 13 June 2018
  68. 68.0 68.1 Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III (2019) volume 2.
  69. "Trump signs executive order that critics warn politicizes federal career civil service," Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
  70. The hostile border between Trump and the head of DHS The Washington Post 25 May 2018
  71. Valverde, M. (May 17, 2018). In Context: Donald Trump's comments about immigrants, ‘animals’. Politifact. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  72. Donald Trump and the disturbing power of dehumanizing language Vox 14 August 2018
  73. How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’? The Washington Post 25 May 2018
  74. Trump’s words carry loathsome baggage The Washington Post 23 May 2018
  75. Trump doubles down on 'animals' comment at immigration roundtable The Independent 23 May 2018
  76. White House doubles down on Trump’s ‘animals’ comments Politico 21 May 2018
  77. The Teens Trapped Between a Gang and the Law The New Yorker 25 December 2017
  78. Trump says US will not be a migrant camp BBC News 19 June 2018
  79. Trump: Dems want illegal immigrants to 'infest our country' The Hill 19 June 2018
  80. Trump Uses Language of Exterminators in Attack on ‘Illegal Immigrants’ New York Magazine 19 June 2018
  81. Trump ramps up rhetoric: Dems want 'illegal immigrants' to 'infest our country' CNN 19 June 2018
  82. Donald Trump: Mexican migrants bring 'tremendous infectious disease' to US, The Guardian
  83. Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border ProPublica 18 June 2018
  84. Geoff Bennett on Twitter[a w] 2 July 2018
  85. Everything We Know About the Separated Migrant Families and What Happens Next by Ben Mathis-Lilley (June 25, 2018 5:39 PM; updated July 5) Slate.
  86. Jeff Sessions, US attorney general nominee, denies KKK sympathies. BBC News. January 10, 2017.
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 Jeff Sessions Forced Out As Attorney General After Constant Criticism From Trump. NPR. November 7, 2018.
  88. Sessions did not disclose meetings with Russian ambassador CNN 2 March 2017
  89. 89.0 89.1 New acting attorney general is a GOP loyalist from Iowa. Associated Press. November 7, 2018.
  90. Acting Attorney General Sat on Board of Company Accused of Bilking Customers. The New York Times. November 8, 2018.
  91. 91.0 91.1 What the acting attorney general thinks of the Mueller probe. PBS NewsHour. November 8, 2018.
  92. Former Attorney General Says Whitaker Appointment 'Confounds Me'. NPR. November 10, 2018.
  93. Future seems uncertain for Trump's acting attorney general. The Associated Press. November 10, 2018.
  94. Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe. The Hill. November 7, 2018.
  95. Trump says Sessions should end Mueller investigation 'right now'. CNN August 1, 2018.
  96. Trump-Russia investigation explained: what we know and what happens next. The Guardian. June 14th, 2018.
  97. 97.0 97.1 Where Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation stands, one year later. PBS Newshour. May 16th, 2018.
  98. White House close to refusing interview with Russia investigation. The Guardian. July 9th, 2018.
  99. Trump resists Mueller interview, leaving difficult decision on subpoena before fall elections. Los Angeles Times. July 15th, 2018.
  100. Special Counsel Reportedly Agrees To Accept Written Answers From Trump. NPR. September 5, 2018.
  101. Schiff: Trump endangering 'rule of law' by David Cohen (12/23/2018 03:08 PM EST) Politico.
  102. 102.0 102.1 102.2 Why Trump’s intervention in the Roger Stone case is extraordinary — even for him by Aaron Blake (July 11, 2020 at 7:51 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  103. Trump keeps pardoning himself In many cases, there are very notable similarities between the president and his pardon recipients by Aaron Blake (Feb. 19, 2020 at 3:30 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
  104. The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive by Alexander Hamilton (March 25, 1788) The Federalist Papers: No. 74 via Yale Law School.
  105. Presidential or Legislative Pardon of the President by Mary C. Lawton, Acting Assistant Attorney General (August 5, 1974) The United States Department of Justice.
  106. Preventing Pardon Abuse (2019) Protect Democracy.
  107. Top Republican Warns That Under New Spending Bill “the Intelligence Community Could Expend Funds as It Sees Fit" The Intercept 22 January 2018
  108. 11 Private Security Firms Guarding Donald Trump The Daily Beast 12 September 2016
  109. Trump Already Has a Wall. It’s the Thin Blue Line. The New Republic 1 September 2017
  110. Trump Rhetoric Empowers Dangerous Fringe Violence The Cipher Brief 15 August 2017
  111. Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality In Speech To Cops HuffPost 28 July 2017
  112. Police push back against Trump's law-and-order speech CNN 31 July 2017
  113. Violent Proto-Fascists Came To Portland. The Police Went After The Anti-Fascists. HuffPost 6 August 2018
  114. Trials for violent protest framed as Trump vs the resistance Associated Press News 21 May 2018
  115. Police Use Tear Gas on Protesters After Trump’s Phoenix Rally New York Magazine 23 August 2017
  116. ACLU Lawsuit Claims D.C. Police Sexually Abused Anti-Trump Protesters Democracy Now! 23 June 2017
  117. ACLU sues DC police over violence at anti-Trump rally Al Jazeera 26 June 2017
  118. TYT Reporter and Cameraman Arrested by St. Louis Police from the YouTube channel The Young Turks 3 October 2017
  119. Some forcibly arrested in St. Louis weren’t protesting Associated Press News 24 September 2017
  120. Protesters arrested after blocking Highway 40 include pastor, state rep St. Louis Post Dispatch 4 October 2017
  121. Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace ProPublica 19 October 2017
  122. Trump's long dalliance with violent rhetoric Politico 10 August 2016
  123. Has Donald Trump never 'promoted or encouraged violence,' as Sarah Huckabee Sanders said? PolitiFact 5 July 2017
  124. Trump’s continued, not-so-subtle suggestions of violence The Washington Post 28 July 2017
  125. A look back at Trump comments perceived by some as inciting violence ABC News 30 May 2020
  126. Is Donald Trump Inciting Violence? Slate 15 March 2016
  127. Trump Supporter Says Those Suing the President for Inciting Violence Are Right: Trump Did Urge Him On The Root 16 April 2017
  128. Another Trump supporter blames him for inciting violence at rally MSNBC 18 April 2017
  129. A Continually Growing List of Violent Incidents at Trump Events Slate 25 April 2016
  130. Trump claims he can’t be sued for inciting rally violence Politico 14 April 2017
  131. Donald Trump called gang members “animals.” That’s dehumanizing — and dangerous. Vox 31 July 2017
  132. Trump's 'alarming' death penalty call threatens suspect's chance of fair trial, experts warn The Guardian 2 November 2017
  133. All the times Trump has called for violence at his rallies Mashable 12 March 2016
  134. The Violence to Come - With Donald Trump on the brink of the GOP nomination, America is hurtling toward a schism unlike anything since the 1960s. The Atlantic 3 March 2016
  135. Trump's Dangerous Incitement of Police Violence The Atlantic 28 July 2017
  136. Corey Lewandowski says he won't apologize to Michelle Fields MSNBC 17 April 2016
  137. Secret Service Agent Violently Slams Photographer to the Ground at Virginia Trump Rally Slate 29 February 2016
  138. Secret Service agent choke slams a photographer at Trump rally Mahable UK 29 February 2016
  139. Media fear Trump will inspire violence against reporters Washington Examiner 25 August 2017 (Archived from the original on the 1 August 2018)
  140. Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter The Washington Post 25 May 2017
  141. GOP Lawmaker: Lynch Anyone Who Takes Down Confederate Monuments HuffPost 22 May 2017
  142. Trump abuses power in using public funds for private benefit The Hill 31 July 2017
  143. Congressional Republicans are helping Trump with a big cover-up Vox 31 Ocotber 2017
  144. $300M Puerto Rico Contract Awarded To Tiny Firm Financed By Big Trump Donors Talking Points Memo 24 October 2017
  145. Trump using campaign, RNC funds to pay legal bills from Russia probe: sources Reuters 19 September 2017
  146. OPINION - Trump's pardon sanctions racist abuse of power The Commercial Appeal 5 September 2017
  147. Criminal Pardon: If Donald Trump abuses his pardon power, he could eventually be prosecuted. Slate 21 July 2017
  148. Top intelligence official told associates Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe The Washington Post 6 June 2017
  149. Trump’s Interests vs. America’s, Dubai Edition The Atlantic 9 August 2017
  150. Trump Family's Endless Conflicts of Interest: Chapter and Verse Newsweek 3 July 2017
  151. Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest Sunlight Foundation
  152. Trump’s Conflicts of Interest Center for American Progress 14 June 2017
  153. Trump’s Abuse Of Power HuffPost 27 July 2017
  154. The History Behind 'When The Looting Starts, The Shooting Starts' NPR 29 May 2020
  155. Hundreds of National Guard troops flow into D.C. from around the country The Washington Post 3 June 2020
  156. Statement by Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs on Support to Civil Authorities United States Department of Defense 2 June 2020
  157. Army: Esper reverses plan to send active-duty troops home Associated Press News 3 June 2020
  158. The president is a danger to the US military Vox 3 June 2020
  159. The dystopian Lincoln Memorial photo raises a grim question: Will they protect us, or will they shoot us? The Washington Post 3 June 2020
  160. Trump plans to use active-duty military forces to deal with growing protests Military Times 1 June 2020
  161. Trump threatens to end protests with military Politico 2 June 2020
  162. ‘Outraged’: Trump faces condemnation for clearing protesters, threatening military force Politico 2 June 2020
  163. Tear gas used in Philadelphia after protest moves to freeway NBC News 1 June 2020
  164. Demented Cops Yell "LIGHT 'EM UP" As They Shoot At Residents Near Their Homes from the Youtube channel The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder 1 June 2020
  165. GRAPHIC VIDEO: Two Buffalo police officers suspended after elderly man shoved and injured WBFO 4 June 2020
  166. "Police Target Journalists as Trump Blames ‘Lamestream Media’ for Protests" by Marc Tracy and Racher Abrams, New York Times, 2020 June 1
  167. "U.S. police have attacked journalists more than 140 times since May 28" by Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 2020 June 1
  168. "Australia Asks for Investigation After Police Attack 2 Journalists in U.S." by Rachel Abrams and Katie Robertson, New York Times, 2020 June 2
  169. "‘Never seen anything like this’: A CNN journalist’s arrest on live television shocks nation and inflames racial wounds" by Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 2020 May 29
  170. "A black Latino CNN reporter was arrested. A white CNN reporter was not.", CNN, 2020 May 29
  171. 'I’m getting shot': attacks on journalists surge in US protests The Guardian 5 June 2020
  172. As Protests Swell, Trump Vows To Unleash Military Against Anti-Racist Demonstrations HuffPost 2 June 2020
  173. Police use munitions to forcibly push back peaceful protesters for Trump church visit ABC News 3 June 2020
  174. "'I am outraged': DC bishop denounces Trump's church visit after police clear protesters with tear gas" by Jeanine Santucci, USA Today, 2020 June 2
  175. "Trump’s Visits to Church and Shrine Draw Fierce Rebukes From D.C. Clergy" by Michael Crowley and Elizabeth Dias, New York Times, 2020 June 2
  176. "Reverend says she was among peaceful protesters tear-gassed so Trump could "hold a Bible and look Christian" by Sophie Lewis, CBS News, 2020 June 2
  177. 177.0 177.1 "What Democracy Scholars Thought of Trump’s Bible Photo Op" by Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, 2020 June 2
  178. "Trump’s Use Of Tear Gas To Break Up A Protest Undermined Three Core Values Of American Democracy" by Perry Bacon Jr and Julia Azari, FiveThirtyEight, 2020 June 2
  179. "A letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper" by James N Miller, 2020 June 2, Washington Post
  180. "Former Defense Secretary Mattis Issues Stunning Rebuke Of Trump" by Scott Neuman, NPR, 2020 June 4
  181. "Mattis' incredible excoriation of Trump, annotated" by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 2020 June 4
  182. "I Cannot Remain Silent - Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so." by Mike Mullen, Atlantic, 2020 June 2
  183. "Message to the Joint Force" by Mark A. Milley, memo from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2020 June 2
  184. "Top general apologizes for appearing in photo-op with Trump after forceful removal of protesters" by By Ryan Browne, Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN, 2020 June 11
  185. "The Officers’ Revolt - Military commanders are finally speaking out against Trump." by Fred Kaplan, Slate, 2020 June 03
  186. ‘State-sanctioned violence’: US police fail to meet basic human rights standards The Guardian 22 June 2020
  187. Soldiers Mobilized To D.C. Protests Were Issued Bayonets: Report HuffPost 2 July 2020
  188. US faces allegations of human rights abuses over treatment of protesters The Hill 9 June 2020
  189. 'Trump is tearing apart America': how the world sees the US protests The Guardian 7 June 2020
  190. Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets Oregon Public Broadcasting 16 July 2020
  191. Oregon officials decry arrests by federal agents in Portland PBS 17 July 2020
  192. Trump's use of unidentified security forces echoes Putin's 'little green men' CNN 7 June 2020
  193. Portland Protesters: Federal Cops In Unmarked Vans Are Grabbing Us Off The Street HuffPost 17 July 2020
  194. "The Disgrace of Portland" by Rich Lowry, National Review, 2020 July 21
  195. "Conservative Media Seizes on Portland Is Burning Narrative" by Caleb Ecarma, Vanity Fair, 2020 July 20
  196. Trump Has Unleashed Authoritarian Violence In Portland. What City Is Next? HuffPost 21 July 2020
  197. Homeland Security Official Defends Portland ‘Kidnappings’ Amid Calls For Investigation HuffPost 20 July 2020
  198. The Border Patrol Was Responsible for an Arrest in Portland The Nation 17 July 2020
  199. A massive Twitter thread on the Portland protests shows all the ins and outs of what happened (archived on 2020 June 21)
  200. "A Navy Veteran Had a Question for the Feds in Portland. They Beat Him in Response." by John Ismay, New York Times, 2020 July 20
  201. "Multnomah County commissioner says she was tear gassed by federal officers" by Fox 12 Staff, KPTV Fox 12, 2020 July 20
  202. "Portland mayor tear gassed after speaking with protesters on presence of federal agents" by Alta Spells and Josh Campbell, CNN, 2020 July 23
  203. "Meet the moms who made a human wall to protect protesters in Portland" by Katie Kindelan, ABC News, 2020 July 20
  204. "What Are Federal Agents Doing in Portland?" NYT.
  205. "President Trump Has Reenergized Portland’s Protests" by Aaron Mesh and Alex Wittwer, Willamette Week, 2020 July 20
  206. "Oregon attorney general sues federal agencies for allegedly violating protesters’ civil rights" by Emily Gillespie and Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 2020 July 19
  207. "Feds Send Outside Agitators To Escalate Conflict in Portland" by Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, 2020 July 20
  208. Leaked memo: Trump administration authorized domestic surveillance of protests to protect statues Raw Story 22 July 2020
  209. DHS Authorizes Domestic Surveillance to Protect Statues and Monuments Lawfare 20 July 2020
  210. Trump announces 'surge' of federal officers to Chicago despite outrage over Portland crackdown The Independent 22 July 2020
  211. Outrage Mounts Over Young Woman's NYC Arrest Video; Cuomo Calls NYPD Actions ‘Obnoxious' NBC 10 Philadelphia 28 July 2020
  212. Statement by Attorney General Rosenblum on Denial of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Oregon Department of Justice 24 July 2020
  213. Here's Why Cities Won't Be Able to Stop Trump's Secret Police VICE 22 July 2020
  214. Details here.
  215. “Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights ProPublica 28 July 2020
  216. Trump’s Secret Police Are Waging a War on American Cities Jacobin 29 July 2020
  217. Call Trump’s Tactics What They Are: Fascist The Nation 28 July 2020
  218. In Portland, the Baby Fascists Have Shown Their Face Foreign Policy 23 July 2020
  219. Trump’s Secret Police Have Never Been a Secret to Brown People The Nation 27 July 2020
  220. U.S. Carries Out The 1st Federal Execution In Nearly 2 Decades HuffPost 14 July 2020
  221. Wesley Purkey executed after Supreme Court cleared the way for second federal execution since 2003 CNN 16 July 2020
  222. Suspect In Fatal Shooting Of Portland Right-Wing Protester Killed By Law Enforcement NPR 4 September 2020
  223. The Feds Say They Tried to Arrest Portland Protest Murder Suspect Michael Reinoehl ‘Peacefully.’ A New Eyewitness Describes a Violent Ambush Rolling Stone 11 September 2020
  224. Police shot Portland slaying suspect without warning or trying to arrest him first, witness says The Washington Post 10 September 2020
  225. “There has to be retribution”: Trump’s chilling comments about extrajudicial killings, briefly explained Vox 14 September 2020
  226. Trump Calls for ‘Retribution,’ Not Justice, in Portland Shooting Rolling Stone 13 September 2020
  227. Trump: Extrajudicial Killing Of Portland Shooting Suspect Is ‘The Way It Has To Be’ Talking Points Memo 13 September 2020
  228. President Trump boasts of law enforcement who killed Portland protester: ‘They didn’t want to arrest him’ Oregon Public Broadcasting 15 October 2020
  229. The Federal Killing of a Protester Should Alarm Us All Current Affairs 1 October 2020
  230. Amazon, eBay block sale of merchandise with "stand back" and "stand by" CBS News 2 October 2020
  231. Opinion - Why ‘Stand Back and Stand By’ Should Set Off Alarm Bells The New York Times 2 October 2020
  232. "Stand back and stand by": Trump declines to condemn white supremacists at debate CBS News 30 September 2020
  233. Opinion: ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ Trump tweets to armed protesters. What was he thinking? Los Angeles Times 17 April 2020
  234. 13 charged in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer CNN 9 October 2020
  235. F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer The New York Times 8 October 2020
  236. Whitmer Blames Trump for Alleged Plot to Kidnap, Kill Her: He’s ‘Complicit’ With ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Mediaite 8 October 2020
  237. 13 charged in plots against Michigan governor, police Associated Press News 9 October 2020
  238. [ https://www.rawstory.com/2020/10/watch-cops-pepper-spray-voters-marching-to-the-polls-in-north-carolina-including-a-5-year-old-girl/amp/?__twitter_impression=true Cops pepper-spray voters marching to the polls in North Carolina — including a 5-year-old girl, Bob Brigham, RawStory]
  239. "Trump Supporters Allegedly Tried to Run Biden Bus ‘Off the Road," Peter Wade, Rolling Stone
  240. "Trump Cheers on MAGA Caravan Targeting Biden Campaign Bus, Charlotte Klein," Vanity Fair
  241. Exclusive: ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US The Verge 26 January 2018
  242. CBP, ICE Bids to Join Intel Community Gain Traction Homeland Security Today 14 February 2018
  243. Yeah, Give ICE Spying Powers. That Should Go Well. Esquire 8 February 2018
  244. ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump The Daily Beast 7 February 2018
  245. How ICE Works to Strip Citizenship from Naturalized Americans The Intercept 14 February 2018
  246. Must Reads: It’s not just people in the U.S. illegally — ICE is nabbing lawful permanent residents too Los Angeles Times 28 June 2018
  247. ICE Has Tripled the Number of Undocumented Immigrants Without Criminal Records It Arrests New York Magazine 13 August 2018
  248. Legal U.S. Immigrants Face Prison And Even Deportation For Voting HuffPost 29 August 2018
  249. The hostile border between Trump and the head of DHS The Washington Post 25 May 2018
  250. Donald Trump is reportedly furious that the US can’t shut down the border Vox 11 May 2018
  251. Woman Killed By Border Patrol Identified As Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzales, 20 HuffPost 25 May 2018
  252. DHS secretary defends separating families at the border CNN 15 May 2018
  253. US lost track of 1,500 immigrant children, but says it's not 'legally responsible' CNN 29 May 2018
  254. Here’s How the Government Managed to Lose Track of 1,500 Migrant Children Mother Jones 25 May 2018
  255. Montini: The feds lost – yes, lost – 1,475 migrant children The Arizona Republic 22 May 2018
  256. What We Know: Family Separation And 'Zero Tolerance' At The Border NPR 19 June 2018
  257. Honduran Man Kills Himself After Being Separated From Family at U.S. Border, Reports Say The New York Times 10 June 2018
  258. US migrant children cry for separated parents on audio BBC News 19 June 2018
  259. Trump Administration Restricts Asylum Access For Victims Of Gang And Domestic Violence HuffPost 11 June 2018
  260. She says federal officials took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center CNN 14 June 2018
  261. Exclusive: Trump looking to erect tent cities to house unaccompanied children www.mcclatchydc.com 12 June 2018
  262. Wikipedia Added US Border 'Detention Centers' to Its List of Concentration Camps VICE 19 June 2018
  263. Trump administration makes site selection for tent city near El Paso to house immigrant children separated from parents The Texas Tribune 14 June 2018
  264. Exclusive: Donald Trump Says He Might Have Supported Japanese Internment Time 8 December 2015
  265. Trump Camp’s Talk of Registry and Japanese Internment Raises Muslims’ Fears The New York Times 17 November 2016
  266. Trump administration opens tent city near El Paso to house separated immigrant children The Texas Tribune 15 June 2018
  267. Detaining Migrant Children Has Lifelong Psychological Effects, Experts Say HuffPost 14 June 2018
  268. These Are The Texas Immigration Center Photos Stirring Anti-Trump Outrage HuffPost 18 June 2018
  269. Separated migrant families held in cages at Texas border – video The Guardian 18 June 2018
  270. Did President Trump Order Detained Immigrants to Wear Yellow Bracelets? Snopes 28 May 2018
  271. Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas Associated Press News 18 June 2018
  272. ‘Prison-like’ migrant youth shelter is understaffed, unequipped for Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, insider says Los Angeles Times 14 June 2018
  273. McKinley: Prison Staffing Cuts Jeopardize Safety Website of US Representative David B. McKinley, P.E. 5 April 2018
  274. Safety Concerns Grow as Inmates Are Guarded by Teachers and Secretaries The New York Times 17 June 2018
  275. Trump administration holding hundreds of babies, toddlers at ‘tender age’ migrant facilities Market Watch 19 June 2018
  276. Trump officials send migrant babies, toddlers to 'tender age' shelters NBC News 20 June 2018
  277. At least 3 “tender age” shelters set up for child migrants Associated Press News 20 June 2018
  278. Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims Reveal 20 June 2018
  279. Trump suggests asylum-seekers are crisis actors Think Progress 21 June 2018
  280. Read: President Trump’s executive order on family separation Vox 20 June 2018
  281. Trump Retreats on Separating Families, but Thousands May Remain Apart The New York Times 20 June 2018
  282. Trump Signs Order To End Family Separations NPR 20 June 2018
  283. Trump planned to erect tent cities to house immigrants since the start of his presidency www.mcclatchydc.com 20 June 2018
  284. New Trump admin order for separated parents: Leave U.S. with kids or without them NBC News 3 July 2018
  285. Immigrant PhD Candidate Rocked By Sudden U.S. Army Discharge Bloomberg 6 July 2018
  286. Migrant kids were stripped, drugged, locked away. So much for compassion. The Washington Post 5 August 2018
  287. 1,000 Detainees Just Got Sent To A Prison That Staffers Consider Unsafe HuffPost 23 June 2018
  288. Trump Attacks Immigration Laws, Calls For Deportations Without Trials HuffPost 24 June 2018
  289. ICE Detainee Diagnosed With Schizophrenia Spent 21 Days in Solitary Confinement, Then Took His Own Life The Intercept 27 July 2018
  290. Child Dead After ICE Detention Center Stay Due To ‘Negligent Care’: Immigration Lawyer International Business Times 1 August 2018
  291. Pregnant women in ICE custody claim they miscarried due to ‘inhumane’ practices New York Post 9 July 2018
  292. Drinking Toilet Water, Widespread Abuse: Report Details ‘Torture’ For Child Detainees HuffPost 17 July 2018
  293. Trump administration to circumvent court limits on detention of child migrants The Washington Post 7 September 2018
  294. The Trump Administration Plans To Detain More Children And For Longer HuffPost 7 September 2018
  295. Trump Administration Moves to Detain Migrant Families Longer US News & World Report 6 September 2018
  296. Trump administration moves to detain migrant families longer Associated Press News 6 September 2018
  297. Trump Administration To Defy Court Order On Child Detention HuffPost 6 September 2018
  298. Despite Trump's promise to protect them, Christian refugees struggle to enter U.S. NBC News 12 September 2018
  299. Immigrant detainees say ICE is using coronavirus disinfectant sprays that cause bleeding, burns and pain Yahoo! News 29 May 2020
  300. ‘Everybody Was Sick’: Inside an ICE Detention Center The New York Times 15 May 2020
  301. Fear, Illness and Death in ICE Detention: How a Protest Grew on the Inside The New York Times Magazine 10 July 2020
  302. 'You Can Either Be A Survivor Or Die': COVID-19 Cases Surge In ICE Detention NPR 1 July 2020
  303. Immigrant Detention and COVID-19: How a Pandemic Exploited and Spread through the US Immigrant Detention System Center for Migration Studies of New York 12 August 2020
  304. ICE Dodged Orders to Free Detainees—and Triggered an Outbreak The Daily Beast 19 July 2020
  305. The Trump administration is using the pandemic as an excuse to target immigrants and asylum seekers Vox 15 May 2020
  306. ICE Detention Center Officials Indiscriminately Tear Gassed Asylum-Seekers, Complaints Say HuffPost 16 August 2020
  307. ICE flew detainees to Virginia so the planes could transport agents to D.C. protests. A huge coronavirus outbreak followed. The Washington Post 11 September 2020
  308. What It’s Like To Be Held By ICE During The COVID-19 Pandemic HuffPost 18 September 2020
  309. “A Silent Pandemic”: Nurse at ICE Facility Blows the Whistle on Coronavirus Dangers The Intercept 14 September 2020
  310. ‘Like an Experimental Concentration Camp’: Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Center Law & Crime 14 September 2020
  311. Unwanted Sterilization And Eugenics Programs in the United States PBS 29 January 2016
  312. "Trump told China's president that building concentration camps for millions of Uighur Muslims was 'exactly the right thing to do,' former adviser says". Business Insider. 18 June 2020. 
  313. Critics Horrified By Trump’s Refusal To Commit To Peaceful Transfer Of Power HuffPost 24 September 2020
  314. The Election That Could Break America The Atlantic 23 September 2020
  315. The Trump Campaign Is Reportedly Plotting an Election Coup to “Bypass” a Biden Win Vanity Fair 23 September 2020
  316. Trump’s campaign ‘is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results’ and keep him in power Raw Story 23 September 2020
  317. Texas governor limits election drop boxes to one per county in sprawling state CNN 5 October 2020
  318. This GOP senator just proposed a bill to help Trump undermine the election AlterNet 27 September 2020
  319. Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.[a w] Mike Lee on Twitter 8 October 2020
  320. Appeals court reinstates Nov. 3 due date for Wisconsin mail ballots The Hill 8 October 2020
  321. Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots The New York Times 26 October 2020
  322. Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots The Washington Post 26 October 2020
  323. Yes, It Was A Blue Wave. No, It Doesn’t Matter For 2020. FiveThirtyEight 14 November 2018
  324. Trump’s Base Isn’t Enough FiveThirtyEight 20 November 2018
  325. Trump: I Will Shut Down Government Over Border Security The Daily Beast 29 July 2020
  326. As Trump Declares National Emergency To Fund Border Wall, Democrats Promise A Fight NPR 15 February 2019
  327. Trump warns Dems over potential investigations: ‘Two can play that game!’ The Hill 7 November 2018
  328. Trump again threatens to cut off FEMA funds for California Politico 9 January 2019