Believe Trump when he vows revenge on the media. MAGA shock troops are already on the attack


Believe Trump when he vows revenge on the media. MAGA shock troops are already on the attack

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Robin Abcarian

Dec. 13, 2023

Was it just a joke when Orange Jesus told Sean Hannity that in the event of his political resurrection, he would be a dictator on day one? I didn’t take it that way. You shouldn’t do that either.

Former President Trump’s MAGA shock troops have advertised far and wide that a second Trump term would be devoted to punishing real and imagined enemies, especially journalists who have dared to speculate about how he would torch the Constitution.

In the dictator’s playbook, demonizing the press is job No. 1, and it’s a Trump thing

has been known for a long time

: Not only does he call news he doesn’t like fake, he also claims he invented the term fake news. (No hats off to the Nazis, I guess.) Mainstream news outlets, it is often said, are truly the enemy of the people. Reporters are scum, the worst of all.

Trump has said for years that he wants to weaken our country’s libel laws, making it easier for him to sue media outlets for negative reporting. (Nothing to do with principles, of course. It’s all about him.)

Some Supreme Court justices have done so

let me know

they agree and would like nothing more than to overturn the 1964 unanimous decision of the courts


for public figures to win defamation cases.

This country’s political system is flawed, there is no doubt about that. A presidential candidate can win the popular vote in a landslide and still lose the White House. Intriguing partisans can draw maps designed to keep them in power indefinitely and pass laws designed to sway voter turnout in their favor. But we haven’t always done that


deep in our bones, that the American free press

could be

never be silenced, that the First Amendment protects us from government censorship, and that a functioning Fourth Estate really is

what keeps democracy safe?

You might think that the Washington Post’s motto is some kind of foolish democracy dying in darkness. I think it’s profound.

It is true that American reporters have been jailed many times over the years, usually for refusing to comply with court orders to identify their sources. We don’t put reporters in jail for telling the truth or expressing their opinions. But Trump would.

He and his allies have already done that


the basis for a war on the free press should he win a second term.

Kash Patel, for example, was one

time aide to former California Rep. Devin Nunes who rose through the ranks of the Trump administration. He eventually got a job as chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, one of the Trump loyalists installed next

the former then-president



Defense officials who refused to deploy military forces to quell the George Floyd protests. Earlier this month, on Steve Bannon’s podcast, Patel,

who from whom

Trump is reportedly considering a post as CIA director in a second administration, vowing revenge on Trump critics

including reporters.

We will go out and find the conspirators, not only within the government, but also in the media, he told Bannon. We are going after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden manipulate the presidential election. Whether it is criminal or civil, just find out.

The name of the relatively obscure MAGA Republican attorney Mike Davis, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Neil


Gorsuch, who worked for Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, is reportedly in the running for attorney general in a second Trump administration. Davis is a walking, talking, testosterone-poisoned MAGA caricature who promises that Washington will become hell if he gets a Cabinet appointment. We’re going to put kids in cages, he told a Republican MAGA YouTube host in September. It’s going to be glorious.

He has threatened to jail and deport left-wing MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan. I’ve already picked his spot in the DC Gulag, Davis tweeted last month.

The latest Trumpian attack on the press comes from Senator JD Vance of Ohio, a Yale Law graduate and member of the elite university MAGA Republican faux-populist cartel that also includes Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (Princeton, Harvard Law) and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas belong. Harvard, Harvard Law), Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (Stanford, Yale Law).

Vance, who once ridiculed Trump as cultural heroin, was offended by a widely read Washington Post essay by neoconservative scholar Robert Kagan that warned of a second Trump term. Let’s stop the wishful thinking and face the grim reality, the essay began. There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it is getting shorter every day.

Kagan, who left the Republican Party over Trump’s embrace, painted a dark vision of what


to happen


Trump strikes


The Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination and its fellow Republicans and big-money donors fall in line. Consider the power of a man who gets himself elected president despite indictments, court appearances and perhaps even conviction, Kagan wrote. Would he even obey a Supreme Court directive? Or would he instead ask how many armored divisions the Chief Justice has?

Can blue states form a meaningful bulwark against Trump’s dictatorship, Kagan wondered. States with Democratic governors and statehouses might refuse to recognize the authority of a tyrannical federal government, he mused. But even the bluest states are not monolithic, and Democratic governors are likely to find themselves under siege as they try to become bastions of resistance to Trump’s tyranny.


taking the plunge into Trump 2.0 media revenge,

Atty asked. General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State

Anthony Antonius J.

Blink to examine Kagan.

I suspect, Vance wrote, that one or both of you might characterize this article as an invitation to insurrection, an expression of a criminal conspiracy, or an attempt to incite civil war.


suspect that Vance is either rattled or, more likely, is simply making a disingenuous attempt to minimize Trump’s orchestrated attempt to overthrow President Biden, a crime against democracy that culminated in the violence of January 6, 2021.

I mean, come on people, what’s the difference between


a violent riot that left at least five people dead, pressured a vice president to violate the constitution, strong-armed Georgia’s foreign minister to find more Trump votes, a series of fake electors was orchestrated and

a writing

thought experiment for a newspaper?

If your answer is “nothing,” then you may have a promising future in a second Trump administration.



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