The Trump administration appears to be laying the groundwork for efforts to squelch protests that are on the horizon. First, there was Trump’s tweet calling protesters an “angry, left-wing mob”
You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law – not the rule of the mob. VOTE REPUBLICAN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2018
Many people concluded that this tweet was in reference to the people who traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. But Trump issued this tweet after Brett Kavanaugh had been confirmed. This tweet was obviously meant for his supporters, and most likely meant to ensure his supporters saw protesters as an “angry left-wing mob”, but which protesters? Trump had already won support for his Supreme Court nomination, so why would it matter at that point what Trump’s supporters thought about the Kavanaugh protesters? That protest had already failed. Instead, it is quite likely that Trump was referring to a new batch of protesters that he sees on the horizon.
Now, there is additional news that provides further proof that Trump’s tweet was likely not in reference to the Brett Kavanaugh protests at all, but rather some protests they are anticipating in the future:
Now, the Trump administration proposes to dramatically limit the right to demonstrate near the White House and on the National Mall, including in ways that would violate court orders that have stood for decades. The proposal would close 80 percent of the White House sidewalk, put new limits on spontaneous demonstrations, and open the door to charging fees for protesting.
Fee requirements could make mass protests like Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1963 March on Washington and its “I have a dream” speech too expensive to happen.
Could these preemptive actions by Trump to both label protests as a “mob” and limit the ability of protests to be held outside the White House be in anticipation of the protests that are already planned should he try to fire Robert Mueller?
Donald Trump could be preparing to put himself above the law. We won’t allow it.
Trump will create a constitutional crisis if he fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller, or attempts to compromise the investigation by other means. (See The Plan for details.)
Our response in the hours following a potential power grab will dictate what happens next—whether Congress will stand up to Trump or allow him to move our democracy toward authoritarianism.
That’s why we’re preparing to hold emergency “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies around the country, in the event they are needed—900+ of them and counting, in every state, with 400,000 RSVPs to date!
Or could they be in anticipation of something more sinister?
When Hitler gained power in Germany, he did so at a time of fractured politics in Germany. No political party enjoyed majority support. There was a need for coalitions to be formed among different parties. Hitler took a political party that at the time had minority support, and, using rhetoric and ruthlessness, created a majority ruling coalition that he then used to disintegrate all competing parties, creating a one-party dictatorship, ruled by him. The means by which he did so have been well documented. Most famously, there was the Reichstag fire, which he blamed on the rival Communist Party, leading to a ruthless elimination of that rival party. There were also the Nazi Brownshirts, a paramilitary group who Hitler used to intimidate the other remaining politicians into voting to give him dictatorial powers through the Enabling Act of 1933.
Among the aims of the Enabling Act which gave dictatorial powers to Hitler are some themes that should sound familiar to those who have been paying attention to Donald Trump’s actions as President. They were the elimination of rival political parties, the elimination of the German constitution as an institution that could override the policies instituted by Hitler, and the elimination of the need for legislative consent for any actions taken with regards to foreign treaties.
Donald Trump has made it quite well known that he has the same goals. Trump has repeatedly called for more Republicans to be elected, or for the Senate filibuster to be eliminated, so that laws can be passed without needing any Democratic party support. Trump has repeatedly bristled at the constraints of the United States Constitution, whether railing against Freedom of The Press, against Freedom from Religion, against Freedom of Speech, or against Due Process. Trump has enacted billions of dollars in new tariffs without the consent of Congress, and withdrawn from international agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Paris Climate Accord, and Iran Nuclear Agreement without a congressional vote.