Trump’s words are a frenzied call for the “unthinkable…”

Vince Rizzo
7 min readMay 23, 2024

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On May 21, 2024, Donald Trump used his social media outlet to claim, once again, that he is a victim while, perhaps, planting a seed:

“It’s just been revealed that Biden’s DOJ was authorized to use DEADLY FORCE for their DESPICABLE raid in Mar-a-Lago. You know they’re just itching to do the unthinkable,” Trump said Tuesday in a fundraising email shared by US media.

“Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger. He thinks he can frighten me, intimidate me, and KNOCK ME DOWN!”

And so the speculation begins. Why now? Why suggest that the DOJ and Biden were gunning for him at Mar-a-Lago? The real question is what is Trump’s goal here? The folks who like to beat around bushes opine that Trump is simply deflecting. His trial is nearing an end and his case was abysmal. Is Trump looking for sympathy? Changing the subject and attacking the justice system is just part of his charm. Trump accomplishes that on his flailing social network daily- like changing his diaper.

The “unthinkable” he references is assassination and for those of us who read and speak the language of mobsters the violence he contends is aimed at him is the violence he wishes for others. For those who have watched all three Godfather movies at least once or have seen any combination of Goodfellows, The Bronx Tale, and the other mob-fearing flix (Donnie Brasco is a fav) speak “mob” fluently. So does Donald Trump. So, let’s translate for the naive.

First, it is important to note that the information in his call-out is not “new” to him- it is part of the discovery process in the classified documents case that Trump and his lawyers have had in hand for months. It is part of the damning opinion of Judge Beryl Howell that was widely reported on in the summer of 2023 when she authorized the DOJ’s request for the search of Mar-a-Lago:

Howell detailed numerous instances in which the former president, his attorneys, and his aides reacted to federal requests for information about any documents with classified markings from Trump’s time in the White House located at his Florida resort after his presidency ended…

“The government contends that this conversation furthered a different stage of the former President’s ongoing scheme to foil the government’s attempts to retrieve all classified-marked documents responsive to the subpoena.

…Howell of the federal district court in Washington, D.C., (further) wrote it was “likely” Trump had gone further than allegedly misleading his attorneys, possibly “instructing his agents to avoid the surveillance cameras he then understood to have been deputized by the government.”

- CBS News, “Unsealed court records offer new insight into Trump classified documents probe,” by Robert Legare, Melissa Quinn, May 21, 2024

So it was hardly the “news” that Trump suggested it was, hardly the grand “travesty of justice” he whined about today.

The announcement was also more than the Trump team’s tired tactic of charging his investigators with charges similar to those he was indicted for. The “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense is one designed specifically for his followers since it is not meant for a courtroom because of it lacks evidence. Trump’s newly rediscovered indignation is a ploy to energize the most loyal and unhinged among them to react. The false claim that Joe Biden was seeking to assassinate him is code and suggests a less than subtle solution to his myriad court issues. He is offering a permission structure for attacks on Biden, his inquisitors, and the courts. He is the one calling for, hoping for, signaling for retribution through violence. The aura around Trump and his henchmen in Congress is pure evil. The blue-suit brigade wearing red ties to display their loyalty to Trump studiously regurgitates the daily talking points der leader has issued for the day. Unlike the MAGA masses who hang on his every tweet, they are really more in league than disciples. They are indispensable, like the ironically named “good Germans,” they provide popular cover for Trump’s crimes and cover-ups. Most if not all are more parasitic toadies looking to capitalize on the post-Trump era- getting in line, rehearsing their parts. By amplifying his message and normalizing his behavior they have become the “better Germans” of our times.

The atmosphere they have created around the Trump crimes and his refusal to face accountability is eerily reminiscent of an earlier time when another right-wing cabal was energized by race and dreams of war. It incited conspiracies and hatred leading to the assassination of another president. Using tactics similar to those being used today to enflame passions, they inverted order and normalized the disruption of the rule of law. There were awful acts of violence, public transgressions of the law by public officials that led to at least 5 high-profile murders (JFK, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, MLK, and RFK). The right-wing anger machine stoked hatred and violence. Conspiracies abounded, no doubt created to hide and muddle the truth. It was a lot like today. Before he was assassinated in Dallas, Kennedy was vilified as a traitor for his political stances in a now infamous flyer circulated in Dallas on the day of his murder. The flyer and a full-page advertisement in the Dallas Morning News that day labeled him a betrayer of the Constitution and a communist sympathizer:

“The political climate now is like the closed-minded climate that was in Dallas at the time of the assassination where people believe what they believe,” said Carolyn Barta, 84, a veteran journalist born and raised in Dallas. “‘If you didn’t believe that, you were wrong and I’m not considering your opinion or how you see things.’ It’s the same sort of condition that is now prevalent in the country and it’s frightening.”

- The Guardian, “Dallas lives with JFK legacy — but hate that spawned assassination simmers,” by David Smith, November 18, 2023

Trump is like the cornered rat looking for a way out of his dilemma. Any route is acceptable. Any help would be appreciated. He calls out to his dwindling minority of disciples, now distilled to the worst and dimmest- those most inclined to act before thinking, to interpret the coded messages of their Cosa Nostra-like Don. Unlike the toadies and sycophants in blue and red outside the courthouse, they are devotees, true believers, and willing liegemen. Like the jury that holds his future in its hands, it takes just one, only one loose cannon, to make Trump’s day. His words “locked and loaded” are a not-so-vague suggestion to someone, anyone. The message is like the words attributed to Henry II who asked “Will no one rid me this turbulent priest?” before the murder of Thomas Becket. Of course, that reference would be foreign to the illiberal and poorly-read ex-president. Perhaps a more appropriate rendition might be that of James Comey and his first meeting in the Oval Office with Trump:

Comey said that during a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

“I took it as a direction,” Comey said. “I mean, this is a president of the United States with me alone saying, ‘I hope this.’ I took it as, this is what he wants me to do. I didn’t obey that, but that’s the way I took it.”

Trump fired Comey last month amid an FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. During Thursday’s testimony, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked Comey questions about what he assumed when Trump said to “hold back” on Flynn:

“You said [Trump] said, ‘I hope you will hold back on that.’ But when a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like ‘I hope’ or ‘I suggest’ or ‘would you,’ do you take that as a directive?”

Comey replied: “Yes. Yes, it rings in my ear as kind of, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’”

- WAPO, “Why did James Comey say, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’,” by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Trump is in no position to fire Biden. However, his friends in low places speak his language and know the code. For the record, it isn’t personal for Trump. Joe Biden is simply another of the men in his way. Trump would wish violence or worse on anyone to get his way, just ask Mike Pence,

It is time that a jury of his peers will rid us of this meddlesome hood. The travesty of watching as he dismantles our institutions with impunity will mark our place in history. If he wins, history will note our indifference was the catalyst for a neo-fascist takeover. It will mark an end to the spark of enlightenment known as the American experiment which as imperfect as it has been was always better than the alternatives.

As American poet D.L Lang has observed:

“It’s a pretty low bar to ask public servants to not be a f-ing Nazi”
― D.L. Lang

We are very close to tripping over the bar.

Originally published at https://www.dailykos.com on May 23, 2024.

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Vince Rizzo

Former president of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) and a founder of a charter school based on MI theory.