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Trump’s lies about an assassination order provide a dangerous undercurrent to the upcoming election

Donald Trump
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How much worse can Trump get if he stooped so low to lie about someone wanting to kill him?

Welcome to the Advo Convo, where members of The Advocate team take on recent news topics in a round-table-like discussion.

Former President Donald Trump went wild on his Truth Social with the absurd — and FALSE (all caps to mimic his frantic post) — claim that President Joe Biden and the FBI were ready to assassinate him when armed FBI agents showed up at Mar-a-Lago to take back the documents that he stole from the federal government.

Let me repeat, even though I don’t have to because rational minds already know, but of course Biden and the FBI weren’t out to shoot Trump. It’s standard operating procedure when the FBI executes (no pun intended) a search warrant.

Appearing on Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace on Thursday, former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi explained that it is required because acting on a search warrant can be dangerous, so it’s best to expect the unexpected to prevent any violence. He posted on X, “Yep, every FBI operations order contains a reminder of FBI deadly force policy. Even for a search warrant. Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself.”

Trump has so conditioned his base and now even others that the government is out to get him with “witch-hunt” trials. He repeats over and over again that all these trials and charges are “election interference” by Joe Biden in order to smear Trump and prevent him from campaigning.

In an analysis in this week’s New York Timesshowed that Trump’s pattern of sowing election doubt has intensified, and his repeated use of “rigged” election has reached a fever pitch, which means he is succeeding in undermining the November election.

When you layer this up — a rigged election, witch-hunt trials, and an assassination attempt — you have a very dark undercurrent brewing about what lies ahead in the campaign.

It is hard to see or tell how Trump can add to an assassination attempt. It frightens me what might lie ahead in his ruthless scheme to win the election. Russian interference looks like child’s play at this point.

I’ll leave this open for all. It’s a very dangerous game, and when you start talking assassination, the stakes could be deadly.

Christopher Wiggins: I read this article by Juliette Kayyem, with whom I spoke a few times to help me understand the concept of stochastic terrorism. In a piece called “Trump’s Assassination Fantasy Has a Darker Purpose,” she wrote in The Atlantic about how Trump frames the situation to normalize violence among his supporters. Kayyem writes, “Trump and his fans have gone from simply damning the ‘deep state,’ the loose term for anyone in national security or law enforcement who hinders his autocratic aims, to portraying federal agents as assassins.”

I was recently in the Supreme Court for Trump’s attorney’s oral arguments claiming he has immunity from prosecution. During that hearing, Trump’s lawyer made the astonishing claim that a president could legally have somebody assassinated if it were considered part of his official duties. This just proves that what Trump is screaming foul about is something he believes he would have the right to do. And that should keep everybody up at night.

What Trump is doing feels like a basket of tactics in which stochastic terrorism resides. His lies about witch-hunt trials, a rigged election, and an assassination attempt provide a dangerous undercurrent to the upcoming election. Considering what he might claim next in his ruthless scheme to win is frightening. His narrative not only endangers the democratic process but also encourages his supporters to view violence as a legitimate political tool. The implications are chilling, and the stakes are incredibly high as we move closer to the election.

Kayyem concludes, “Since the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Trump has become more and more apocalyptic in his language. This week, he sent another dangerous signal to his supporters: FBI agents are an armed enemy, ready to assassinate the former president. Unless, of course, Trump and his mob get to them first.”

She’s right.

JC: Yes, she is right, and it’s shocking that we are talking about a presidential candidate claiming the other one is out to assassinate him. Can you imagine Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney saying something like that? Trump has disintegrated morality and civility to the point where people are immune to these wild accusations. Voters are just shrugging their shoulders and saying. “Oh, Trump, he’ll say anything.” How did we get to this point?

Trudy Ring: It’s very sad that we’ve gotten to the point that we say, “Oh, it’s just Trump being Trump.” And of course, his base will believe anything he says. I don’t know quite how people got to the point of shrugging their shoulders at his vile rhetoric — I know none of us are at that point! The thing to do is mobilize reasonable people to get to the polls and vote for Biden.

Talk to anyone you know who’s undecided, although it’s hard to believe anyone is, and also anyone who’s tempted to vote for a minor-party candidate. Biden hasn’t done everything right, but he’s done a LOT of things right, and the alternative is kissing our democracy goodbye. By the way, there’s a great column in The Washington Post by Dana Milbank reminding us all just how horrid the orange monster is. Share it far and wide!

JC: Trudy, you raise a good point. Perhaps it’s up to folks like Milbank - and us - to keep the heat on. To keep calling Trump out. To do all we can to raise awareness. There was an article in this weekend's New York Times about the problem the Biden campaign is having trying to bring Trump into focus for voters. How do you go about doing that when the list of Trump’s lies, bad attributes and barbaric and illegal behavior are a mile long?

I worked on campaigns; I don’t have the right — or any — answer for that question. Moreso, I get asked all the time by friends who live in Europe, “What’s going on over there?” And I don’t have an answer to that either. It’s bewildering and frustrating.

Voices is dedicated to featuring a wide range of inspiring personal stories and impactful opinions from the LGBTQ+ and Allied community. Visit Advocate.com/submit to learn more about submission guidelines. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on any of our stories. Email us at voices@equalpride.com. Views expressed in Voices stories are those of the guest writers, columnists and editors, and do not directly represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. The columns include interviews with Sam Altman, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Colman Domingo, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Ripa and Mark Counselos, Jamie Lee Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Nancy Pelosi, Tony Fauci, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and many others. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the Nobel Prize-winning UN IPCC, and with four of the largest retailers in the U.S.

Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.

Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).