Oct 3, 2022 • 6M

American Carnage, Enemies Everywhere (audio and update)

Insults, vengeance and the threat of violence have always been on the menu

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Steven Beschloss
Audio recordings of regular posts, narrated by author and journalist Steven Beschloss, focused on democracy, justice, politics and society.
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Donald Trump stepping onto the stage for a recent rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

I don’t usually amplify the dangerous, violent rhetoric coming from elected Republican extremists. It’s clear their goal is to incite their increasingly radicalized base, particularly the most unhinged and violent among them. The more it happens, the more incendiary the language is, the more dangerous it becomes—and the more it can succeed at intimidating and endangering their targets.

In the text below and the audio here (read by me), I’m sharing again the repetitive, violent and carnage-filled attacks from Donald Trump that define his over-cooked mind and populated his daily bombardment of our public life. I wrote it in an effort to chronicle in condensed form the mad reality that hypnotized and triggered millions of Americans. By presenting the last six years in a single stream-of-conscious narrative, drawn nearly verbatim, my hope was to give us the ability to see more clearly how this verbal and tweeted assault succeeded at degrading the thinking of so many among us.

In recent weeks, Trump has continued his violent incitement as the investigation of his theft and storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago has intensified. There’s little doubt that he will try to motivate his extremist followers to take action if and when indictments come. In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, he insisted an indictment would lead to “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.”

But in the meantime, there’s no quieting of his usual rampage. On Friday night, he ranted on his troubled social media platform, Truth Social, that Mitch McConnell’s “support of Democrat sponsored Bills” such as stopgap funding to avoid a government shutdown and provide funding for Ukraine and disaster relief indicates that the Senate minority leader “has a DEATH WISH.” He ended with a racist attack of McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, Trump’s former transportation secretary. All of this is the usual diatribe we’ve come to expect from the former White House occupant.

But it was the rhetoric the next night by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene that was a more worrying expression of how his acolytes are determined to show they’re all in on political violence. "I'm not going to mince words with you all," the attention-seeking Greene said at Trump’s latest rally in Michigan on Saturday. "Democrats want Republicans dead. They've already started the killings."

As the political climate intensifies between now and the Nov. 8 midterms, we can expect more of this—and we can only hope that it doesn’t lead to actual deadly consequences. But it’s important to look squarely at what Trump has wrought and will continue to employ if he thinks it will help him evade justice. Everywhere he looks, he sees enemies. Everywhere he goes, he seeks to create more carnage.

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He urged the execution of the Central Park Five back in 1989, even took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to make his point, then said nothing when it was found that the five Black and Latino men were wrongly convicted. He called Mexicans criminals and rapists after descending his golden escalator from his golden apartment, again telling everyone exactly who he is and who was going to get it if he won the presidency. Everyone should have known. “I want to hate these murderers and I always will,” he wrote in the 1989 ad. “Bring back the death penalty.”

Soon he was feeling his power, whipping up the crowds at his campaign rallies, promising to pay the legal bills (then reneging) if they beat up the hecklers who refused to go along. “I’d like to punch him in the face,” he said. “I love the old days…they’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” All this was only prelude to the violent show to come. Waterboarding? “I think it’s great, but we don’t go far enough.” And if he were president? He’d “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

Oh, the pleasure. A sadist’s delight. All the world’s a stage and he was going to make the most of it. He’s not some weakling, not like all those other Republicans. Mitt Romney choked like a dog. Ted Cruz is a world-class liar, a nasty guy, a nervous wreck. Marco Rubio is a phony, a choker, a lightweight, maybe even a bigger liar than Ted. And the Democrats? Hillary is crooked, crooked, crooked. Lock her up. Obama, he wasn’t born here, nope, and his administration—the most corrupt in history, a complete disaster, a total failure. Just wait until I tell you about Joe, so sleepy, an enemy of the state. And did you hear how crooked Crooked Hillary is? What a liar. So unfit. So corrupt. Lock her up. Russia, if you’re listening…

I am the president now, all cameras on me. My inauguration crowd was the biggest in history. Sean Spicer will tell you. Period. Time to say how it really is. So much death. So much American carnage. I already told you: I alone can fix it. Those refugees are vermin and rats. Those African nations are shithole countries. Those Antifa wack jobs are thugs and scum. Those dead and injured soldiers are losers and fools. McCain is no hero. The media are the Enemy of the People, fake news, dishonest, sick. The New York Times—failing, crooked, disgusting, a scam and a fraud. Did I mention crooked and fake? Watch the video where I beat the crap out of CNN. They’re fake news. Believe me. Putin is a murderer? We’re not so innocent.

And the Mueller team, they’re a gang of treasonous thugs, angry Democrats, Trump haters, liars and losers, leading a fraudulent Witch Hunt. And their boss: disgraced and discredited, highly conflicted, Comey’s best friend. And Bill Barr? He’s my attorney general, he knows Russia, Russia, Russia is a hoax, until he isn’t my attorney general and I’ll reveal that he was a pathetic RINO, a captive of radical left Democrats, a weakling without the guts or stamina to fight for our stolen election. He started OK but faded fast. And those impeachment trials? Let me tell you about Adam Schiff, a proven liar, totally corrupt, sleazy, shifty, mentally deranged. He should be investigated for fraud.

This is our country and we’re not going to take it anymore. You’ve got to fight like hell or we’re not going to have a country anymore. We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. Then I become president and you are the happiest people. I know your pain. I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us and everyone knows it, especially the other side. Things and events happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots. My people, good people, are special. Not like those radical, vicious, racist prosecutors who, in reality, are not out to get me, they’re after you, because our country and our elections are corrupt.

Our country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger like I’ve never seen before over all the scams and this new one breaking into the president’s house. People are so angry, so tired of all the scams and the witch hunts and now this. The FBI, the DOJ, they are vicious monsters. Federal agents must rise up. The egregious use of the law is going to create a backlash, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Joe Biden looked like the devil with his hateful speech. He is an enemy of the state. The temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen. I warned you: American carnage must stop. Right here and right now.

We must surely hope that the years of degradation, personal attacks and violent incitements can be cooled, shifted, revealed for the genuine danger that they portend. If not, this carnage mindset, this American landscape filled with enemies everywhere, risks increasingly becoming the new normal and promises some very volatile years ahead.