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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/16/19

Trump Cornered

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Recall that 11 people were murdered at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue on 27 October, at the hands of a white supremacist. A few days earlier, a white supremacist murdered two black people at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

It is hardly the first time Trump has played down white nationalism, or signaled his support for those who might use violence on his behalf.

At a Las Vegas rally during the 2016 campaign he said he'd like to punch a protester in the face; at another event encouraged his supporters to "knock the crap" out of any protester making trouble.

"I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees," he said.

But as Trump becomes ever more entrapped in the web of his own misdeeds, his threats are becoming more ominous.

At a rally for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley in September, Trump said his opponents "were lucky that we're peaceful." He continued: "Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump ... They travel all over the country ... They've been great." But, he warned, "these are tough people ... they're peaceful people, and antifa and all, they'd better hope they stay that way."

In February, the White House Correspondents' Association called on Trump to make it "absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable." To date, he has not.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, another of Trump's bottom feeders, predicted that "2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the civil war."

Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has given cover to some of the most vile bigots in America. As he grows more desperate, he is giving them encouragement.

It is our job and the job of all senators and representatives in Congress, regardless of party, and of military leaders to condemn hatred and violence in all its forms, even when the president of the United States makes excuses for it.

And it is up to all of us to reaffirm our commitment to democracy, even when the president of the United States threatens to unleash the military and vigilantes against it.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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