Posted by on March 19, 2023 3:46 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Trump’s call for protest over potential arrest sparks fears of violence

Former President Trump’s call on Saturday encouraging protests in light of a possible arrest has sparked concerns about political violence should his base respond to the call. 

Trump on Truth Social said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as the Manhattan District Attorney investigates a hush-money payment made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 campaign. “Protest, take our nation back!” the former president wrote.

Figures on both sides of the aisle were asked for their take on the Sunday political news shows, with some saying it reminded them of calls to supporters by Trump after the 2020 election that culminated into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said “there’s no reason” to protest a potential Trump arrest. 

“No one is above the law. Not even the former president of the United States. And if there has been an investigation, and that investigation should be allowed to go forward appropriately, if it’s time to bring indictments, then they’ll bring indictments. That’s how our legal system works,” Warren said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

“Protests are just — there’s no reason to protest this. This is the law operating as it should, without fear or favor for anyone,” Warren said. 

Anticipation is building this week over a possible indictment of Trump in connection to the hush-money payment being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Prosecutors allege the payment violated campaign finance laws and reports have suggested Trump may be indicted over the matter, but that timing is unknown.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) warned of a “political circus” and stressed of the potential protests that “you want to make sure it’s peaceful.”

“You can’t just put it on the former president. It’s our responsibility, right, in society, in our communities, to make sure that, if we have something to say, we’re doing it in the right way, and making sure we’re making a positive effect going forward. But it is going to be a circus, right? It is going to be a bit of a political circus. There’s going to be a lot of unknowns,” Sununu said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Republican governor said, though, that he wishes the matter wasn’t pulling in so much focus. 

“There’s much more pressing issues of the day. It’s just unfortunate this has taken the headlines,” Sununu said. 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) also invoked the idea of a “circus” when talking about Trump’s call for protest. 

“The circus continues. I mean, look, he only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil. And so he wants to create the chaos and turmoil on his terms. He doesn’t want anybody else’s terms … He wants it on his terms,” Christie, an ABC News contributor, said on the network’s “This Week.”

Gary Cohn, Trump’s onetime economic adviser, said he hoped for “a very peaceful set of events.”

“I’m anti-protest, so I don’t think we should be protesting anything. I- I hope that America has learned from what has happened in the past, and I hope whatever happens next week, we just have a very peaceful set of events,” Cohn said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“You know, when it comes to this, no one is above the law. But there are also maybe some politics involved. So both of these things may be true,” Cohn said. 

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) drew a distinction between Trump’s call for support at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when he was president, and his recent call as “an individual person” to protest.

“There’s a difference between the former president and what he did on Jan. 6 as the president of the United States and his call for support at the Capitol, versus an individual person, today, asking people to show up to protest if he is indicted,” Rounds said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”

The senator underscored that it’s still not certain whether Trump will face an indictment, but said “you don’t want to have any threats towards the implementation or the attempt to implement justice.” 

“And that’s something that you always have to take seriously, whether it’s from an individual person or a former president of the United States,” Rounds said.

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) on Friday wrote on Twitter to argue there’s a “big difference between Team America and Team Extreme” when it comes to matters involving book bans, reproductive rights and voting rights.

“We fight for American values like freedom of thought, reproductive freedom and the freedom to vote. Right-wing extremists are canceling books, pushing a nationwide abortion ban and suppressing the vote. Big difference between Team America and Team Extreme,” Jeffries wrote.

Asked about the comment on MSNBC on Sunday, Jeffries confirmed it was a reference to Trump “and all those who continue to bend the knee to the insurrectionist in chief.” 

“They clearly have not learned their lesson and they are doubling and tripling down on their extremism even when that extremist could have potentially violent and deadly consequences as it did during the insurrection,” Jeffries said.

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