Home News Thirst for violence: Trump’s Jan. 6 ‘warriors’ comment is call to arms

Thirst for violence: Trump’s Jan. 6 ‘warriors’ comment is call to arms



This weekend, the always rambling Donald Trump appeared to ad lib a new term for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists: “they were warriors,” the former president said of the rabble that invaded the Capitol and attempted to end the American system of representative government.

You might not think there’s much of a difference between his previous terms like “martyrs” and “hostages” and the new “warriors” moniker. But while the former two paint the rioters as sort of hapless regular folk or freedom-concerned citizens swept up in some kind of sinister political conspiracy, the latter goes headlong into lionizing their violence.

Both descriptors are ludicrous, but the glamorization of violence is more dangerous. Trump has completed the transition from initial condemnation — and, as much as he’s trying to rewrite history, we shouldn’t forget that even Trump himself realized in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6 that he’d overplayed his hand and tried to distance himself from the day’s hostilities — to practically calling the rioters freedom fighters.

What Trump is now signaling with this comment is that he wants more of this, and that he may well be prepping for Jan. 6, 2025.

He knows that his follow-him-anywhere followers, who don’t seem to grasp that the man doesn’t care a whit about them, will hear his praising of “warriors” and decide that they, too, have been drafted in Trump’s war on democracy. He wants them to march again, wherever there are people or institutions that might dare to constrict him or apply the laws to his movement.

There are those who may vote for Trump because they’re unhappy with the economy or think President Biden is too old, but do they really want to be Trump’s so-called warriors as well?

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like the former president retains much cachet to mobilize folks to take to the streets. Despite his constant dark warnings of some sort of uprising if he were to be convicted in his Manhattan criminal trial, the conviction came and went with just some crying and mewling from his handful of assembled fans. The limpness of the threat doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous, though.

It only takes a handful of people to cause a lot of damage if they’re committed to political violence, and Trump keeps warning that he intends to weaponize the federal government against opponents if he gets back into the White House, which he can do while massively losing the popular vote.

We have to strike a balance that doesn’t imbue the former president with influence he frankly doesn’t have, but also doesn’t ignore, excuse or dismiss him as he gets closer and closer to once again unleashing political violence.

Mob rule is the opposite of our constitutional order.

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