Weather Futures Market News Headline News DTN Ag Headlines Portfolio

Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
Trump's Call for Protests Muted        03/20 06:13


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Donald Trump's calls for protests ahead 
of his anticipated indictment in New York have generated mostly muted reactions 
from supporters, with even some of his most ardent loyalists dismissing the 
idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap.

   The ambivalence raises questions about whether Trump, though a leading 
Republican contender in the 2024 presidential race who retains a devoted 
following, still has the power to mobilize far-right supporters the way he did 
more than two years ago before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. 
Capitol. It also suggests that the hundreds of arrests that followed the 
Capitol riot, not to mention the convictions and long prison sentences, may 
have dampened the desire for repeat mass unrest.

   Still, law enforcement in New York is continuing to closely monitor online 
chatter warning of protests and violence if Trump is arrested, with threats 
varying in specificity and credibility, four officials told The Associated 
Press. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included 
calls for armed protesters to block law enforcement officers and attempt to 
stop any potential arrest, the officials said.

   The New York Young Republican Club has announced plans for a protest at an 
undisclosed location in Manhattan on Monday, and incendiary but isolated posts 
surfaced on fringe social media platforms from supporters calling for an armed 
confrontation with law enforcement at Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

   But nearly two days after Trump claimed on his Truth Social platform that he 
expected to be arrested on Tuesday and exhorted followers to protest, there 
were few signs his appeal had inspired his supporters to organize and rally 
around an event like the Jan. 6 gathering. In fact, a prominent organizer of 
rallies that preceded the Capitol riot posted on Twitter that he intended to 
remain on the sidelines.

   Ali Alexander, who as an organizer of the "Stop the Steal" movement staged 
rallies to promote Trump's baseless claims that Democrats stole the 2020 
election from him, warned Trump supporters that they would be "jailed or worse" 
if they protested in New York City.

   "You have no liberty or rights there," he tweeted.

   One of Alexander's allies in the "Stop the Steal" campaign was conspiracy 
theorist Alex Jones, who amplified the election fraud claims on his Infowars 
show. Alexander posted that he had spoken to Jones and said that neither of 
them would be protesting this time around.

   "We've both got enough going on fighting the government," Alexander wrote. 
"No billionaire is covering our bills."

   That stands in contrast to the days before the Capitol riot when Trump 
stoked up supporters when he invited them to Washington for a "big protest" on 
a Jan. 6, tweeting, "Be there, will be wild!" Thousands of Trump supporters 
stormed the Capitol that day, busting through windows and violently clashing 
with officers in an ultimately failed effort to stop the congressional 
certification of Democrat Joe Biden's victory.

   Since then, about 1,000 participants have been arrested, many racking up 
steep legal bills and expressing regret and contrition in court for their 
actions. Some have complained of feeling abandoned by Trump. And conspiracy 
theories that the riot was fueled or even set up by undercover law enforcement 
informants in the crowd have continued to flourish online, with Trump 
supporters citing that angst as a basis for steering clear of a new large-scale 

   "How many Feds/Fed assets are in place to turn protest against the political 
arrest of Pres Trump into violence?" tweeted Rep. Marjorie-Taylor Greene. The 
Georgia Republican also invoked a conspiracy theory that an FBI informant had 
instigated the Jan. 6 riot.

   "Has Ray Epps booked his flight to NY yet?" she tweeted on Sunday.

   Epps, an Arizona man, was filmed encouraging others to enter the Capitol. 
Conspiracy theorists believe Epps was an FBI informant because he was removed 
from a Jan. 6 "wanted" list without being charged. In January, the House 
committee that investigated the Capitol attack said the claims about Epps were 

   John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab who has tracked the 
"Stop the Steal" movement online, said anxiety over being entrapped by 
so-called agent provocateurs feeds a "paranoia that if they go and do violence, 
they may get caught and there may be consequences."

   "It seems to reduce a lot of people's willingness to make big statements 
about being willing to go out" and engage in violence, he said.

   A grand jury is investigating hush money payments to women who alleged 
sexual encounters with Trump. Prosecutors have not said when their work might 
conclude or when charges could come.

   The conflicted feelings over how far to support Trump in his fight against 
prosecution extends into the political realm. His own vice president, Mike 
Pence, who's expected to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination, 
castigated Trump in an ABC News interview this weekend as "reckless" for his 
actions on Jan. 6 and said history would hold him accountable -- even as he 
echoed the former president's rhetoric that an indictment would be a 
"politically charged prosecution."

   "I have no doubt that President Trump knows how to take care of himself. And 
he will. But that doesn't make it right to have a politically charged 
prosecution of a former president of the United States of America," Pence said.

   The opening day of the House Republican conference in Orlando, Florida, was 
quickly overshadowed with the news of a potential indictment. Speaker Kevin 
McCarthy and other House Republicans called the possibility outrageous and 
criticized District Attorney Alvin Bragg for what they called "reckless crime" 
in New York City.

   McCarthy said he has assembled congressional investigators to probe if Bragg 
used Justice Department grants to pursue the Trump case. But despite the heated 
rhetoric toward Bragg, Republican leaders stopped short of Trump's calls for 
protesters to "take our nation back."

   "I don't think people should protest this. I think President Trump, when you 
talk to him, he doesn't think that, either," McCarthy said.

Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN