U.S. sense of security threatened by Republican Party

Threats of a violent rebellion have grown since former President Donald Trump claimed he was being framed by the FBI

August 24, 2022 5:30 am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as part of a criminal investigation. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

If you find yourself agreeing with people who threaten to kill or harm political opponents, urge you to “arm up” for a coming “civil war” or fail to criticize those who goad others into fanatical frenzies then step away from your television, chat group or bar stool and take a very deep breath.

Our sanctimonious sense of security in the U.S.’s inevitable march toward freedom and opportunity is being threatened by the most unlikely of sources — those who have long claimed to be the most patriotic, the most defense forward, the most emblematic of the red, white and blue and the blood and treasure that’s been spilt to defend it — the Republican Party. 

Over the last six years, we have watched as the GOP has become nothing less than a three-ring circus led by the former president, Donald Trump, a red-tied billionaire spinning tales so tall and making leaps of logic so breathtaking they put Cirque du Soleil to shame. 

Within hours of learning the FBI had seized confidential government documents from his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, the former president jumped on his social media platform claiming he was being framed by the FBI and that the agency was “destroying our country.” Never mind that Trump and his attorneys had ignored a previous subpoena demanding the documents, or that one of Trump’s attorney’s signed a statement guaranteeing that all the documents Trump had illegally taken from the White House had been returned. The ringmaster called foul and his supplicants followed, taking to the air waves, social media and the blogosphere to echo Trump’s criticisms and grandiose lies, and allowing him, once again, to magically escape responsibility for his actions. 

From Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, we read on Twitter: “I think every Republican believes that the FBI and other organizations have lost their mind when it comes to Trump.” From Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, we heard,  “The way our federal government has gone, it’s like what we thought about the Gestapo.” And Rep. Paul Goser, R-Arizona, tweeted: “We must destroy the FBI.” Even Oregon’s lone Republican in Congress, Rep. Cliff Bentz, demanded that the FBI be investigated for its action. And then there is all the silent consent. The elected and non-elected politicians and community and business leaders who, with a nod of their head or a shrug of their shoulders, also attempt to escape responsibility as their party tries to torch America.

Overstated? I don’t think so. 

Within two days of Trump’s condemnation of the FBI, an armed 42-year-old Iraq War vet tried to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. The man, who is believed to have been at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and has connections to the extremist group Proud Boys, was shot after an hours-long standoff with police. His online posts advocated violence and telling people to “Be ready for combat…we must not tolerate this one.” Shortly after that incident, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a warning about the unprecedented level of threats being made to “federal law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI’s recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida.” Those threats include the planting of a “dirty bomb” (a radioactive device) in front of the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., and calls for armed rebellion.

As evidence against Trump mounts, and threats of violent rebellion grow, a few Republicans have begun to plead for leaders to tone down their rhetoric. Among this small choir is former Vice President Mike Pence. But at this point, it seems no one has much sway with those trapped in the Trump Trance. 

Adolf Hitler once wrote that “the art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.” Right now in the U.S., the Republican Party has consolidated and embraced the attention of a radicalized group of Americans who believe that the only thing that matters is that Trump remains in power no matter what. His words and actions, and the words, actions and inactions of his party, have divided America into those who support Trump and those who are America’s enemy.

We may never know why Trump did not voluntarily turn over all 300 classified documents when originally subpoenaed this spring. But we do know this: We are not likely to hear the real story from the man whose house was “raided,” nor from the men and women who know the truth but are too weak or afraid to speak it. Trump complains that never in history has a president faced the kind of treatment he has, and he’s right about that. But never in history have we had a former president and a political party who think they are above the rule of law.

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Naseem Rakha

Naseem Rakha is a former public radio reporter, news show host and commentator. She is an author of the novel "The Crying Tree," which was inspired by her time covering two executions in Oregon. Naseem spends her time hiking, climbing, rafting and photographing areas throughout the American West.