Wineke: Trump threatens riots should he be investigated

Some Trump White House Records Handed Over To January 6 Committee Had Been Ripped Up
Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

MADISON, Wis. — Donald Trump’s rantings and ravings over the last election are so familiar that we tend to dismiss them and move on to more important topics.

But, sometimes, in the midst of the lunacy, the former president says things that make my hair stand on edge.

Saturday, speaking in Texas, Trump encouraged his followers to stage riots in communities where he is being personally investigated for financial or political wrong-doing.

In New York, for example, prosecutors are investigating whether Trump committed tax fraud by valuing his properties at one sum when using them as collateral for loans and at a lower sum when paying taxes. In Atlanta, he is being investigated for trying to convince state officials to change voting totals that gave the state’s electoral votes to President Biden.

He is, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty (or even charged), but that’s not the case Trump is making. The case he is making is that is is the victim of yet another witch hunt, one conducted by Black prosecutors.

“These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people,” Trump claimed. “They are racist and they’re very sick. They’re mentally sick. They’re going after me without any protection of my rights from the Supreme Court or most other courts. In reality, they’re not going after me. They’re going after you.”

In reality, of course, the prosecutors are going after Trump and in reality, Trump has the same protection of the courts that any of the rest of us have.

He knows it and he is scared, as well he ought to be. Much of what he’s being investigated for is stuff he is recorded doing.

But here’s where one’s hair ought to stand on end: Trump isn’t just protesting his innocence; he is threatening mayhem,

“If any of these vicious, racist, prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we’ve ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and everywhere.”

Now, remember, this is the same guy who summoned his supporters to Washington on January 6, 2021 and encouraged them to march on the Capitol, promising to be with them and, then, remaining silent as they ransacked the building and threatened his vice president with death.

We shouldn’t take him seriously; he’s basically a grifter who rose beyond his level of expertise. But we should take his threats seriously because we’ve seen the results of him.

The question is whether the country is actually willing to let a mob-style boss threaten the institutions that keep us free.