Trump urges insurrections—perhaps armed—against shutdowns in states with Democratic governors

April 17, 2020 • 6:00 pm

Seriously, isn’t there a way to get Trump out of the Presidency before he does more damage to our Republic? After saying he’d leave it up to the states and their governors to decide when to “open up” parts of America, he’s now doing this:


Umm. . . is he calling for action with guns in that last tweet?

These are all states with Democratic governors, and he’s urging their residents to rise up against. . . what? Surely the state governments and their rules designed to protect the populace. According to the New York Times, these are all states where conservative Trump supporters are gathering—against shutdown restrictions—to urge a reopening of the economy. You’ve probably seen scenes of Wednesday’s protest in Lansing, Michigan, much of the protestors’ rancor aimed at the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. No social distancing in the picture below!

From the Detroit Free Press:

You can argue about how many lives were lost by Trump’s temporizing and hamhanded handling of the pandemic since January, but here he’s urging citizens to overturn the regulations of state governments, opening up states before their governors deem it prudent. In other words, open them up now. And in violation of his recent concession to the governors, itself a violation of his earlier assertion that he was a King Who Had the Power to Do Anything.

I never believed I would see a U.S. President urge insurrections, possibly armed, against legal and justified decrees by the government of states. But it’s happening. And on Twitter, for crying out loud!

Anybody who favors Trump at this point really is deplorable, for the man is palpably insane, lost in his own world of ego in which everyone must fall at his feet and declare him a god-chosen monarch. His narcissism has cost lives, and this could cost more: either through states that open up prematurely, or through the residuum of armed Republican lunatics who are willing to use the Second Amendment in futile attempts to overthrow state governments.

I have no more words. I wish I knew what to do except write ineffectual posts like this and urge the election of Democrats in November.


200 thoughts on “Trump urges insurrections—perhaps armed—against shutdowns in states with Democratic governors

    1. I would agree Diana. The other thing is he isn’t calling for the same thing in Ohio, which also had protests, but has a Republican governor. So it’s also a political move (as if we didn’t already know that).

  1. And he tweeted something about “Mutiny on the Bounty” being a favorite movie of his, although he apparently didn’t understand the movie.

    Mutinies are normally not peaceful events.

  2. I’ve been urging @jack and @twitter to shut down his twitter account. (Many have been today.) Also, we can share our concerns and support our friends and good candidates. We certainly cannot retreat or become apathetic.

    1. His tweets affect me in the way a cloudy day does: in general it has no effect and at most a pragmatic way to avoid any consequences. If everyone followed the same response his tweets would be ineffectual.

      A better solution is allow Donald his ranting and finger pointing and then have Twitter share all the followers and ‘likes’ to be known to Google, Facebook and Youtube and then have those companies inundate the them only with science links on science, climatology, evolution, and quantum physics, etc.

  3. What happens when these people actually rise up? The military are not the praetorian guard of the president (besides the praetorian guard murdered emperors all the time, but I digress), they are sworn to uphold the constitution not serve the president.

    1. Unfortunately, so is the president, and yet…

      They are also sworn to follow the orders of the president. Many in our military understand the constitution and the law, others do not.

      Of those that I know that are presently in active service (maybe two dozen, most officers, as they are mostly former students), there is roughly an even ideological political divide and a significant lean toward the more christian.

      I can’t say where they will go, but as the come from a cohort that is generally more liberal than the mean for the US military, I do have questions…

  4. The governors will been to get Trump’s permission to respond. Such a shame that we passed that Constitutional Amendment making whoever won the 2016 Presidential election king/queen for their entire term!

    It just gets worse every day.

  5. “I never believed I would see a U.S. President urge insurrections, possibly armed, against legal and justified decrees by the government of states. But it’s happening. And on Twitter, for crying out loud!”

    Oh please. Hasn’t the entire Democratic party been advocating “Resistance” for three years? Impeachment throughout? #notmypresident? Launched an investigation on, at best, debatable pretenses? Held up a Supreme Court appointment via public tribunal maligning a model public servant? Told us the President is a spy for Russia? Resistance against what, exactly, the duly elected president? Oh yeah, he’s Hitler, I forgot. If the situation were reversed, I’d expect you to have your fist in the air yelling “this is what democracy looks like” and encouraging people to protest. I expect better from this blog. You don’t have to like Trump (I don’t) to think this is an unhinged strawman of an interpretation.

    1. Please. False equivalency.Those people saying “not my president” were not the POTUS urging citizens to rise up against governors.

    2. Despite my thinking that what he’s tweeting is reprehensible, an obvious political ploy, and possibly an attempt to provoke a clash between protesters and police somewhere that he can then exploit politically, I do agree that saying he’s calling for an “insurrection” is definitely a strawman. He didn’t say something like, “go out in the streets and take your rights back from the government” or something. He didn’t actually tell anybody to do anything.

      It’s still a really disgusting continuance of his dangerous politicization of this crisis, but I agree that saying he’s calling for an insurrection is a very convenient interpretation.

      1. Oh, please.

        We all know that is exactly how some of his more rabid followers will read the tweets. And the reference to 2A is absolutely a coded signal to “bring your guns”. At least, the Trumpers will think so.

        It doesn’t matter if that isn’t what Trump meant, it’s how his followers will take it, and president with an ounce of sense would understand that. He’s either calling for insurrection in a deniable way or is too stupid to be president.

        1. “It doesn’t matter if that isn’t what Trump meant…”

          Um, it does matter if that was the claim made, which it is. I have said elsewhere that the man is a fucking moron too stupid to understand the danger of his own words and actions. But you can’t move the goalposts from “was this statement true” to “will it be taken that way by some other people even if it’s not?”

          1. The point is not what he meant by it (if anything) but what the effect is on the people who listen to him. The fact is that these tweets are pretty incendiary wether he meant them to be or not and if he had an ounce of sense he would have realised that.

            So please stop making excuses for the man.

    3. Dude, it’s one thing to drink the Trump kool-aid; it’s another to snort that stuff straight outta the packet. Back away from the straw!

    4. No, the entire Democratic party has not been doing what you said, and didn’t the Republican party hold up a Supreme Court appointment? But put that aside because you don’t seem to realize that the meltdown we are seeing now is by the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. A man with power.

      Sorry you expect better from this blog. I expect better from you. Diana is right–this is the President of the United States acting like a crazy baby, and you raise false equivalencies. Shame on you. You are contemptible–like the narcissist you are defending.

    5. People who say he’s not “their president” or “resist” are apparently not particularly notable and their “resistance” is just their free speech that does not even mean something nefarious. People form oppositions all the time in democratic countries, or are even called ‘opposition parties’.

      However, and it’s astonishing that it needs an explanation, but alright: Trump is the US president and there is no “private” for a president. Even the fact that a President is constantly producing propaganda news, because of newer social media technologies, is highly unusual and should have been a societal discussion years ago, which was simply skipped.

      He is a president who seems to double as a one-man propaganda ministry. His utterances become news and fodder in the US media ecosystem. But we know he also listens to influencers who are propagandists and perhaps there’s a team that helps him tweet. The US is now a country much like autocratic states in this respect.

      And now he, officially, urges a population via his official account to “liberate” a state. That’s highly unusual, to put it mildly. But Trump has destroyed reality in the USA. Words no longer have meaning. There is no accountability. We all know Trump: his words and behaviour follows special rules, and different standards are applied. That’s why it’s easy to not take such tweets seriously or spin them in any direction.

        1. Absolutely. The spin can turn in any direction from armed militias taking over public buildings or worse, to argument on twitter that Trump was just a bit polemic, and he’s just Trump being Trump etcetera. Reality is broken in the USA.

          The plain meaning in any other country would be armed resistance against state officials. Had Obama tweeted something like this, the Republicans would have demanded rope and a tree.

      1. You can’t yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theatre and then say you’re only kidding. Actually, his approach to the pandemic has, in a way, been the opposite: “Everybody stay seated and watch the movie. There is no fire!”

    6. Mitch McConnell said that his “top priority” as senate majority leader was to prevent Barack Obama from gaining a second term.

      Did Obama ever call for the “liberation” of Kentucky, or any other red state? Or ever use language even remotely as incendiary about anything?

      Trump’s fomentations are those of a would-be caudillo.

      1. This is one of the most ignorant, wrong-headed and out-of-touch comments I’ve ever read on WEIT. Keep up the good work.

      1. Why not both? That’s what makes Murica great: you ain’t forced to choose, like in commie countries.

  6. My best bet is that Trump wants to continue getting conservatives to gather in public to “protest” in an attempt to provoke a police response to a given “protest” in a state with a Democratic governor, which he can then exploit in the media and on the internet through his supporters (saying it shows the Democrats want to control the people/take away their freedom, Democrats use the police to suppress conservatives, etc.).

        1. Hmm…well, it couldn’t POSSIBLY be the Dear Leader’s party–they’re all about civil order and taking a sober, reasoned approach to the issues of the day.

  7. I wonder who advised him to do that. It looks carefully planned and orchestrated. He is far too stupid and easily distracted to manage three tweets on the same topic aimed at specific targets.

      1. There ya go. I noticed how “liberate” is conveniently ambivalent, in a perfect motte-and-bailey way, between armed insurrection and political change. Thus when people like Jerry point to the fact that some will take it as a command “Annie get your gun,” conservatives will say oh no, it’s just a call for protest and political organizing.

        That kind of clever verbal strategizing is way beyond the orange dimbulb. Fox News, however, sprinkles a little evil genius here and there among the just plain evil.

    1. Oh, no. This is exactly the kind of dangerous, impetuous, childish thing Trump would do on a whim while taking a shit. He does have the attention span to think, “how can I best divide people and make things even more dangerous for my own stupid reasons,” or, at least, “how can I best stick it to the libtards?” I will grant him that.

      The difference between him and Cuomo is astounding. Just think of the approval ratings bump Trump could have had if he actually acted like a leader during this crisis. Cuomo is getting plaudits all over the place despite waiting far too long to implement extreme measures and, as a result, having more coronavirus cases than any country in the entire world. But Cuomo has received a huge bump because he has successfully portrayed a leader and provided the calming effect of having someone in charge who seems like they’re in command of a crisis. The importance of having someone who seems like they know what they’re doing and isn’t playing politics during a crisis is enormous. Most people need that voice to give them a sense of safety and order.

      In direct contrast, Trump has done nothing but exacerbated this crisis at every turn, especially politically, and represented himself exactly as he is: incompetent, boorish, utterly lacking in leadership skills, and refusing to take any responsibility for anything bad that happens under his watch (he literally said, “I take no responsibility at all”!!!). If he could have not acted like himself just this one time, he could have received the common wartime/crisis bump in approval, but he couldn’t do it because he can’t be anything other than what he is: an utter buffoon and narcissist with the long-term planning skills of a cat chasing a shiny toy.

      1. The problem is, Trump could pull someones head off, sh1t down their neck and throw the head into the crowd and his supporters would still support him. The appeal to reason does not work with people that have no ability to think for themselves.

        1. I’ve explained this before, but many people who stick with Trump stick with him not because they like him personally, but because he’s a Republican, and they trust Republicans (rightly) to enact/protect policies and appoint judges that will favor the person’s particular political issue (e.g. abortion, gun rights). People constantly ask how Evangelical Christians can stick with a man who seems to be the antithesis of everything they believe in when it comes to his personal life and behavior, but his personal life and behavior don’t matter to them. What matters to Evangelical Christians is that Trump is toeing the Republican line by appointing anti-abortion judges and supporting governors who pass anti-abortion legislation, as Evangelical Christians consider abortion to be the literal murder of babies. So long as Trump continues to work to the benefit of certain single-issue voters, those voters will stick by him; everything else he does is irrelevant.

          But, if Trump was smart (he’s not), he would realize that simply holding down the Republican base is not enough and would have foreseen that acting like a good leader right now might have allowed him to collect enough supporters who would stick around through the Presidential election. Considering how close the last election was, how uniquely bad a candidate Hillary Clinton was, and how much better than Hillary Biden has performed both in the primaries and in polls in the states Hillary lost, Trump should have used this crisis as an opportunity to get the crisis leadership bump. Thankfully (in the long run, as it makes it more likely he will lose in November), he’s not smart enough to grab the opportunity this crisis gave him, nor restrained enough to keep from being his asshole self for just a few months.

          1. People constantly ask how Evangelical Christians can stick with a man who seems to be the antithesis of everything they believe in when it comes to his personal life and behavior, but his personal life and behavior don’t matter to them.

            Maybe people constantly ask this because Evangelicals have been screaming for decades about how crucial it is to have a “godly” man in office. It was their raison d’être for showing up at the polls en masse to elect one of their own fellow Evangelicals, George W. Bush, to re-sanctify an Oval Office befouled by Bill Clinton’s personal sexual peccadilloes.

            You can’t expect those of us who took at their word the people claiming the high moral ground to ignore such hypocrisy.

            1. They probably do not even know what hypocrisy means.
              Is not hypocrisy a basic condition of all (at least Abrahamic) religions? That must somehow blind them to see hypocrisy, I guess.
              [Small side-note, the Evangelicals did not elect Mr Bush (W), the SC did.]

            2. As a lawyer, I can’t imagine you take many average people at their word when it comes to their supposed convictions 🙂

              And when it comes to politics, we’re all “hypocrites.” We all vote for people who go against some of our principles because they will do things that we want, or at least not do things the other guy we could vote for will do.

              As I’ve said, Evangelicals are smart enough to play politics instead of purity games. They know what they want and will vote for any person who will give it to them. That person’s personal life has no relevance because the only relevant thing is what policies they’ll support.

      2. Although Mr Cuomo rose to the task when Covid-19 really became an emergency type of problem, I think Mr Inslee and Mr Newsom did even better, they nipped it in the bud, so to say, prevented it from becoming a real crisis. Kudos to them.

        1. Yes, they did far better jobs and should be commended. Cuomo stepped up to the plate after the ball had already been pitched, caught, thrown back to the pitcher, and thrown again. Inslee and Newsom have been really impressive during this crisis.

        2. For quite a long time now, I’ve been hoping for someone to defend us against tRump. He seems to be Teflon. We needed a hero to fly in in a white helicopter and gain political momentum away from the White House and save the country from insanity. Well, nobody showed up. But, it may be that the knight in shining armor might turn out to be these governors. Voices that rise above the lunatic voice and steady the country and the world until the election.

  8. Really?! I guess tRump’s re-election prospects must be looking worse than I imagined. I always assumed this kind of insurrection would be a last resort, not a pre-emptive one.

    I sincerely hope I’m joking. But I’m also worried what would happen if I were to be wrong. Could this genuinely be something that the “rest of the West” should be seriously considering? In which case, Ceiling Cat help us all!

  9. I agree, please vote him out in November or can we impeach him again for all the bad information and lies he spouts out every day.

    1. Voting in November? If tRump is really calling for an armed insurrection, and it is hard to interpret his Virginia tweet any other way, then good luck with that! And Margaret Atwood thought a fundamentalist Christian US insurgency was fiction.

      1. Margaret Atwood always emphasizes that she didn’t make anything up in the Handmaid’s Tale. Every outrageous element in the novel happened in real life somewhere, just not necessarily in the US … yet.

        1. I know, that’s what worries me! And activating the 25th Amendment would put Pence in charge, which wouldn’t be reassuring in that scenario…

      2. I gather that if there are no elections, Mr Trump and Mr Pence are out of office by January 20, 2021. Is that a correct notion? Would that mean that Ms Pelosi becomes president?

        1. The issue is rather murky. Under normal circumstances, presidential succession goes first to the Vice President, then to the Speaker of the House, the President pro tempore of the Senate, then to the Secretary of State, and on down through the rest of the cabinet in the order in which the positions were established. However, the Senate and the House of Representatives take their seats on 3 January, Since all of the House is up for re-election this year, if there are no elections, there will not be a House, either, and, therefore, no Speaker. Similarly, approximately one-third of the Senate will be vacant seats. That leaves open the possibility that the presidency would devolve onto the President pro tem, which is Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who is not up for re-election until 2024.

          The 20th amendment, ratified on 23 January 1933, states:

          Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

          Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

          Since this amendment assumes an election and both houses in session, the suspension of the November 2020 election would constiute a Constitutional crisis of unprecedented magnitude. The whole thing could end up in the lap of the Supreme Court, which would be yet another disaster given the current court’s composition.

          1. Thanks E.A., that clarifies somewhat (eg. no president Pelosi), but it still remains, as you say, murky.

          2. Speaking of other aspects of USian democracy, it was ‘set-up’ almost 250 years ago, and it seems many aspects of your constitution are treated like they are sort of a revelation from god, so cannot possibly be changed. Perhaps not that succession, maybe it has been modified, I don’t know.

            However the combination of

            1) the amount of time since the USian Revolution (AKA, irritatingly incorrectly geographically, the ‘American Revolution’), and

            2) the attitude that many constitutional things are like god’s perfect revelation so more-or-less unchangeable,

            it isn’t surprising, and Trump has brought these out (e.g. can’t charge him with a crime until he’s booted in November–not exactly the constitution for that) that U.S. democratic practices include some obvious imperfections not suffered by other ‘western’ countries (and the other way round for other reasons of course–I was glad to see you guys could convict and jail Conrad Black, when we in Canada apparently couldn’t–with Trump’s pardon, I guess ‘Lord Black’ can strut around the U.S. again!).

            Right now, the one that strikes me most is the fact that a dead duck president can surely do a hell of a lot of damage in 10 weeks, from earlier in November to later in January. Is there any other country where the voters can boot the leader, maybe very decisively, but he or she can continue to ravage their country long after those votes are counted?

            1. Well, it used to be that the president took office in early March so it could be worse.

              Your comments on the constitution being immutable relates very well to the composition of the Supreme Court. Conservatives demand that the law be intended as the founders wrote. No mention of abortion rights so it doesn’t exist. They call themselves originalists. They are fundamentally opposed to any interpretation that does not conform to the original intent of the document (or at lest what they say it is).

              Beats me why James Madison forgot to include email in the original document among other things.

    2. Donis Simons: “or can we impeach him again…”

      Unfortunately, bad information and lies are not impeachable offenses.

      They are however (and however unlikely the effort might be) sufficient to invoke the 25th Amendment.

      Which is why for years now I have been signing off my FB posts concerning His Orange Shitheadedness with the call: “2545!”

  10. Just a note on perspective: that regardless of how big it was portrayed in the media, local news from reporters on the spot in richmond, va, estimated the crowd of protesters on the capitol grounds was only about 45-50 people including some families with young children. Like any pathogen, this can be a seed for exponential growth, but yesterday was small.

      1. He is not acting. As always. I do not seriously listen to anything he says since it has no truth value. From his first weeks, he was consistently saying x followed by not x. No information content. I think that eugene robinson said in this mornings wapo, that wesurvived the first three years on the inertia of the in situ system as tr**p really was just undoing stuff and really had nothing he had to create. But this is different. It seems that aside from the insanity of his words, the underlying theme is miller and bannonesque lack of belief in a federal government… any federal govt. The one consistent theme is the discrediting and dismantling of the federal govt.

        1. He is not acting. As always. I do not seriously listen to anything he says

          Phew. That sets my mind at rest, knowing that all the Trumpers have exactly that attitude…

          … oh, wait… no.

          1. Which re-ignites our suspicions (well, never really extinguished) that he is a Russian stooge, or at least in Mr Putin’s pocket.

    1. It is extremely difficult to interpret tRump’s Virginia tweet as anything but a call for an armed insurrection.

      What are the realistic actions that could be taken to remove this dangerous person go office? Amendment 25 wouldn’t be my favored option, given that Pence would take charge, but what else is there? Over to you, Ken?

      1. The only realistic prospect now is to vote the bastard out of office come November (and to hope he doesn’t do any damage this Republic cannot withstand in the meantime).

    1. I’ve been telling my Trump-rabid relatives to go to church, shake lots of hands, pass the peace, share the cup, break the bread and pass it, and give out some hugs on the way to the potluck dinner.

      1. I’m sure you jest but it is worth pointing out that it is not just themselves who these protesters put at risk. If they do end up infecting each other with the virus then the ensuing cluster of diseased patients places additional overload on the health services and places the people providing those services at further risk.

    1. Agreed absolutely!

      If you had also cited the second amendment would that be treason? Just wondering about how these things are judged!

      1. Maybe not treason, since it is a call to save the US, but it could be construed as, well probably would be, sedition. Sedition against the President, hardly against the state.
        The best thing would be the 25th now. Not much chance of that.

  11. Here’s what the new Virginia laws that Trump claims put the Second Amendment “under siege” such that citizens must take it upon themselves to “LIBERATE VIRGINIA” actually do:

    — Require background checks on all gun sales in Virginia;

    — Re-institute a limit on handgun sales to one a month;

    — Increase penalties for recklessly leaving firearms near children or failing to report a lost or stolen firearm within two days;

    — Allow localities to set their own rules on the presence of firearms in public;

    — Prohibit those subject to a protective order from possessing firearms;

    — Create a “red flag” law that allows law enforcement to temporarily seize a gun from a person deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.

  12. I can only see the 25th amendment as a possible means of kicking the bum out. Section Four, gives the vice president, backed by the majority of the executive cabinet, the power to declare the president unable to serve and assume the role of acting president. If things get violent, I can imagine the cabinet would turn against him. He many walk this back tomorrow. Who knows.

    1. Yep, he’ll doubtless walk this back- he has pivoted 360° on so many issues that I’m almost as dizzy as he is. But it doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen or that he’s fit for office. And I know it isn’t your fault, rickflick, so please don’t take my rant personally!

    2. Feel free to name even five cabinet members who you think would be expected to sign the document required to enforce the 25th. And then you need four more. Good luck.

      But wait, it gets worse. The president, once they do sign it, can appeal to the Congress to overturn the decision by the cabinet. All he has to do is send a letter to congress saying, hey I’m fine, and he’s back in unless the cabinet transmits a letter to the congress affirming their decision in which case Congress has to convene within 48 hours for that purpose. Then within 21 days, unless both houses decide by a 2/3s vote that he is unfit for office, he’s back in. Yes, and that’s 2/3s in BOTH houses, not just the Senate.

      People who advocate for the 25th amendment have not thought it thoroughly through. The 25th is harder to do than impeachment.

  13. Trump should keep his mouth shut, but protest is not insurrection. And the fact is that our freedom is being violated like no other time in our history. And many of the restrictions are overzealous and downright silly. I worry about government overreach almost as much as I worry about the coronavirus and the economy. We cannot be perfectly safe. Let us use reasonable risk management. And people should be entrusted more to make sensible decisions instead of being treated like idiots. Provide guidance, not force. Nobody wants to die or have a loved one die.

    1. And no governor has called out the state militia to fix bayonets and force anyone to follow directives. The vast majority of residents are doing so because they’ve been convinced by commonsense medical explanations and moral suasion.

    2. A protest is indeed not an insurrection, but Mr Trump’s tweets come close to inciting insurrection, that is what this is about..
      In the US you have no idea what overzealous and silly restrictions are. In South Africa: no walks in the wilderness, no jogging, no walking your d*ggie, no alcoholic beverages (sales, transport or even export), no tobacco, no sales of non-food items (from lightbulbs and clothes to pens or glue), except toiletries and ‘babystuff’. And a de facto curfew from 18:00 hrs.
      Now that is overzealous, methinks

  14. Trump’s current tweets will look tame if he loses the election. As I’ve stated before, should Trump lose, the period between Election Day and Inauguration Day may decide the fate of the Republic. If he calls his supporters to rise up, the violence and chaos they could create will give him an excuse to declare martial law. What will happen after that is too frightening to contemplate. It would take only a few thousand militants to go on a violence spree that will give Trump everything he wants.

    1. Yes, this nation is in for a period of bad ugliness and unrest, the likes of which living Americans have never seen.

    2. “declare martial law”. He can declare all he wants. The question is whether the Pentagon would listen and respond. I seriously doubt they would. What USian general would take orders from a tin-horn moron?

      1. Yes, I think you’re right; the Pentagon would refuse to follow (indeed, would be forbidden by the Uniform Code of Military Justice from following) an unconstitutional order from Donald Trump — and this comes from someone who’s been leery of the Pentagon’s undermining civilian command of the military since seeing Seven Days in May as a kid.

        I think it’s heartening in this regard that it was the generals in Trump’s early administration — Jim Mattis, HR McMaster, and (to a lesser extent) John Kelly — who refused to kowtow to Trump and came to a bad parting with him.

      2. You’re making a few assumptions that are far from a sure thing. Namely, that 1) the Pentagon, meaning the top military officials, will refuse to obey his orders and 2) that all the subordinate commanders will follow the orders from the top. This may happen, but I would not bet my last dollar on it. If just part of the military obeys Trump then chaos would ensue with the possibility of different military units firing on each other. Considering that the Republican Party is scared stiff of Trump and may not oppose him, it is not impossible that parts of the military may not oppose him as well. I hope this doesn’t happen, but it’s a possibility than cannot be dismissed. Even if the military should be united in putting down violence, many of Trump’s supporters will refuse to accept the Democrat, presumably Biden, as legitimate, meaning the “united” in United States will be a joke if it is not already that.

        1. Anything’s possible. But, there is considerable unity in the broader population about real issues, even while we see more division than ever on some issues. Even if many are devoted to the man-child, they are also “Americans”, and there is a large majority who are putting a lot of trust in the “system”, and Dr. Fauci not tRump. The best example is that a vast majority think the lock-downs are valuable and should not be lifted prematurely. I think the apocalyptic scenarios are very unlikely. But, yes, anything’s possible.

          1. I think one thing will serve to protect you from the worst case scenario: Trump’s innate cowardice. He really is a coward, a squeamish little man who gets others to do the firing for him in reality, who flirts with insurrection but wouldn’t have the appetite for it if it actually happened. I think it’s possible it would flare up, but there’s no way he’d lead it. He doesn’t have the ‘guts’.

            He’s not a lion, he’s a weasel.

            1. Well, weasels are pretty fierce carnivores. We need an analog creature that relies on bluff. Maybe a red milk snake pretending to be a coral snake?

              1. It needs to be some kind of animal whose defining characteristic is wriggling out of a constant stream of self-made disasters. I don’t think any such animal exists; natural selection would not look upon it favourably.

                Trump has an unerring instinct for wriggling out of tight spots.
                This is what makes him so dangerous as an opponent, and it’s why if anyone thinks he’s going to end up paying any kind of price for what he’s done over the last four years I think they’re wrong.

              2. No, he probably will not paying any kind of price. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the the thought of him being flayed with a dull knife.

              3. ” . . . enjoying the the thought of him being flayed with a dull knife.”

                I might be content with watching him on national TV wield a toilet brush or washing his own drawers.

              4. Actually I think the worst punishment for a narcissist like tRump would be isolation on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific. He depends on the adoration of his fans. Deny that and the man would shrivel like the Wicked Witch of the West.

              5. I’ve often said that one of the best things our media could do is stage a one-day boycott of mentioning anything having to do with Trump. More than anything else, he hates being ignored. I would expect a tweetstorm more unhinged than anything we’ve seen so far.

              6. Once he’s fully isolated, perhaps the pièce de résistance would be to send him modern history books in which he is not mentioned.

  15. “I wish I knew what to do except write ineffectual posts like this and urge the election of Democrats in November.”

    Do you think he could admit defeat and go peacefully? I doubt it, especially if he’s stimulated by his “friends” and enablers.

  16. It is time for that 25th amendment. They need to go ahead and do it now and get him out. Notice you hear nothing from the republicans. They are frozen.

    Unless the leaders in the democratic congress cannot put together a plan, take control and do the right things we are screwed. Lots more money needs to go out to the states to give them the ability to do what the fed is not doing. They cannot do this without congress. The objective is to defeat the virus. Other countries are doing this buy testing and contact tracing on a large scale. This allows for partial opening of things. Trump and all of his worthless gang must go. We cannot wait for election time or there may not even be one.

    Pelosi and Schumer must act. You cannot just sit there and pretend this is not happening.

    Other countries like Germany put money out to companies to keep everyone paid. That is what we should be doing. This bullshit unemployment does not get it.

    If we do not act, we are just screwed.

    1. Uh, if tRump could not be impeached, do you truly think it is possible to get Spence and the cabinet and then 2/3 of the House plus 2/3 of the Senate to agree to replace him under the 25th? Do you live on some other planet?

      1. That was yesterday sir. You need to wake up. I live on this planet, unfortunately in this country.

    2. In some ways I am just throwing things out to see what sticks but they are the things that must be done. The administration has failed in every way since day one. Waited too long to do anything and then did nothing. No testing, no equipment to keep people safe. These were the basics that every other country managed to do and we failed. We still do not have the equipment and we sure as hell do not have the testing. Everyone know you cannot just go back to normal or you will have a total mess. The hospitals will be overrun and then things really go nuts. This administration is a total failure and everyone knows it. Those in congress still collecting their paychecks need to do something about it.

        1. At some point you all need to stop doing politics get off your asses and think like real people. You know operational people. Not people that sit behind a tube all day and play games. The things I stated need to happen. If they don’t thing will just continue to get worse and worse. There is no damn reason why after a president has failed that the congress cannot get off their asses and do something. If they can’t, what the heck are they there for and why are we paying them. We seem to be paying a lot of people to just watch us go down the tubes. To sit here and say it can’t be done is not the right answer.

          1. I don’t think I said anything that you are talking about, although I agree with your assessment. I have written to my Republican senator, and have done a variety of other things to try to get people off of their asses. I am fairly sure that I will never convince a Trump base person to change their opinion, but I can help to try to make Colorado become more blue by ousting Gardner. In 2018 Republicans did not win a single state wide election, and we damn sure better make that happens again this year.

      1. The administration failed since before the handover, with crisis training, with appointing pandemic key personnel, with dismantling the CDC, et cetera.

        They set themselves up for this.

    3. Pelosi and Schumer and many others must have contingency plans formulated by the CIA and others for just such an emergency. Perhaps it has a name like “Register Shift”. They would have to make an agreement with Republican leaders, military leaders, etc. for the go-ahead, and then they’d send in the men in white coats, tranquilizer gun, and straight jacket, size XXXL.

  17. Under otherwise normal circumstances, I would say that Trump’s behavior, definitely including the above Tweets, is worthy of new impeachment proceedings. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical health of the country is of prime importance now. I can only continue to hope, along with hopefully a large majority of my fellow citizens, that everything Trump is doing or saying makes a landslide defeat more likely for him in November. Hopefully, even he couldn’t overcome a landslide against him.

  18. A few months ago, when I was almost certain he’d be reelected, I was distressed but thought, ‘Well, just 4 more years of this fool and we can move on. It can’t get any worse.’ Now I’m so distressed at the idea that I really don’t know what we are going to do if he gets another term. For the first time in my 50 years I am concerned that one person can destroy the country. I expected Trump to be someone I disagreed with on everything. I didn’t expect this. Every day brings more astonishing and egregious behavior. It doesn’t even seem real. How can half the country willfully turn a blind eye? It isn’t stupidity for most people, let’s be fair. It’s like a bizarre self-destructive impulse to be contrarian or anti-intellectual or something. But this is very, very serious. He has to be removed from office.

          1. Economic destruction (my country will be the first victim since our economies are entwined), defunding of WHO and other institutions, stopping participation in NATO which will leave Europe to do most of the defence, stopping military support in various countries.

            I once told some Americans I met in Los Vegas years ago when Trump was first elected – when you look like this to the world you allies get nervous and start doing things on their own and your enemies become emboldened. Who will take up the void the US leaves?

          2. Torbjörn: “how would that work?”

            Easy. Look at Russia’s recent activities in Crimea and Ukraine, or China’s expansionist activities, building artificial islands and such. Or Iran’s ambitions, in particular with respect to the Strait of Hormuz.

            How much disorder or insurrection in the U.S., particularly if it left it in doubt who was in command of the armed forces, to create opportunities for those actors?

    1. It’s like a bizarre self-destructive impulse to be contrarian or anti-intellectual or something.

      They’re nihilist, man.

  19. KNX Radio in LA used to have a regular segment called “The Athlete Arrest of the Day”. I wish someone would regularly broadcast “The Trump Outrage of the Day.” Oh wait, that’s just the news. I used to think that Trump could not outdo himself day in and day out, but he continues to prove me wrong. It is truly scary to hear people I know call him the greatest President ever and give him 100% approval on whatever he says, does or tweets.

  20. I fear the anti – government ideologues on both sides of the aisle. At the current date, I fear the right more because they have a fool in power who, to an extent, does damage seemingly intentionally. Or at least, negligently. Like a useful idiot.

    I do think we’re looking at hardships for at least the near term to mid term. Eight months, with hopefully some relief as we go along. Just a guess.

    1. Funny, I don’t see anti-government ideologues on both sides of the isle, only on the right. If anything, those on the left want more government, just in a way that helps more people. I wonder who you are looking at.

  21. tRump’s volte face is easy to understand. When tRump said he was the final authority, Giuliani or Meadows or one of his goons said “Are you crazy? If you make the decision to open the economy, you’ll take the blame for everyone who dies thereafter. Let the governors make the decisions, then attack them for whatever they do.”

    1. Yes, that (since Trump always seeks to avoid responsibility and, hence, to avoid the possibility of bearing any blame), but also because he has ZERO authority under the US constitution to countermand a governor’s exercise of state police powers.

  22. “Posted at 23:46 17 Apr23:46 17 Apr
    Trump defends lockdown protesters

    Trump is asked about an accusation by Washington Governor Jay Inslee that the president was fomenting rebellion by encouraging states to liberate themselves from lockdowns. He is asked how that squares with the “sober and methodical guidance” he issued yesterday.

    Trump says of certain stay-at-home orders: “Elements of what they’ve done is too much.”

    He specifically mentions Virginia, which has closed firing ranges after designating them non-essential businesses.

    Asked if he is concerned that protesters will spread the disease, Trump says: “No, these are people expressing their views.

    “I see where they are and I see the way they are working. They seem to be very responsible to me. They’ve been treated a little bit rough.””

    [ ]

  23. “The US has the highest number of cases and deaths worldwide, more than 672,200 confirmed infections and 33,000 deaths.

    Demonstrations calling on authorities to end the shutdown have occurred in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia and Kentucky.

    The states Mr Trump referenced in Friday’s tweets are all led by Democrats. Ohio and Utah, which he did not mention, have Republican governors.”

    [ ]

    1. On a per capita basis there are 8 countries doing worse than “the country best equipped to handle a pandemic” (according to the WHO), the US. Three of these 8 (the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden) initially went with the now discredited ‘herd immunity” model. And Belgium’s numbers are inflated compared to the other countries. They count any death where there is even a remote suspicion of Covid, without testing, as a Covid death. They call it ‘transparency’.

  24. Mr. Trump has just publicly ceded authority in these matters to the state governors; and publicly suggested seemingly reasonable guidelines. The tweets therefore seem to come from a different individual altogether.
    Could it be that Mr. Trump has a deranged twin brother? Or could there be two Trumps, one an android, although we don’t know which?

    Joking aside, there could be a neurological explanation of the constant, and increasingly weird, flow of contradictory assertions from the individual we are discussing. Everyone who has observed dementias of various kinds is familiar with the weird ups and downs, the
    “good hours” and “bad hours”, etc. etc.

    1. Trump is trying to incite his base, and at the same time look like a reasonable leader. You cannot possibly do that without the appearance of some amount of dissociative identity disorder.

    2. I think if it were the mirror universe and there was an evil, bearded Trump, we’d at least have a better idea of how to overcome him.

    3. “Or could there be two Trumps, one an android, although we don’t know which?”

      Perhaps this is no time for humour (or rather humor). But one of Alexandra Petri’s best in WAPO back in September was entitled

      ‘Brett Kavanaugh was a model youngster. Bart O’Kavanaugh was not.’

      Easy to dig up. Starts:

      “Brett Kavanaugh did not go out much. He was a quiet, respectful lad. ….

      It is too bad that his live-in doppelganger, Bart O’Kavanaugh …”


      “Bart, meanwhile, seemed possessed of a more than human strength. There were certain odd facets to him that his friends tried not to call notice to: He only had a shadow sometimes. No one had ever seen his feet. When the class dove was confided to his care, it died immediately. Sometimes you would be startled to find him in the locker room,…”

      ““Have An Extra Respectful Weekend!” Brett wrote on his calendar. He was already dreading the moment he would have to go out with the car and pour Bart into the back seat,…. Boys will be boys, he reminded himself.”

  25. Umm. . . is he calling for action with guns in that last tweet?
    No, probably not this time. it’s related to recently passed tougher gun legislation in Virginia. This has stirred up gun nuts in the state. tRump, the evil SOB just uses every means at his disposal to turn people against each other when he thinks that it will benefit him.
    When (as I hope happens) he is not reelected, there will be violence from the worst of his supporters.

  26. OMG. If you think it’s bad now, wait until he loses the election. Armageddon for sure. So glad I don’t live there…

  27. I am not American and I feel so desperately sad for your situation and then devastated that you have such an incompetent nincompoop as your leader. His mumblings are unfathomable in their logic. He has seemingly made every past poor leader to be pillars of virtue and reason.

    Stay Strong America…November will come and hopefully with a new dawn.

    1. Thanks. It’s good to know there are sympathizers out there in the larger world. However, it occurs to me that what happens in the US of A has an impact throughout the world. So, nobody isn’t a victim here. As much as we extol the virtues of our system here in the US, it has it’s weaknesses.

    2. Yes, I’d add to that. The majority of the world loathes him even more than Americans do. And our fates are intertwined: I’m invested in this coming election whether I want to be or not.

      I really hope you guys wipe the floor with him and this has some kind of vaguely happy ending. But he is a profoundly dangerous opponent, and a masterfully skilled weasel.

      Either way, the world needs a stable America. I’m not one of those people who blames America for all the world’s ills. I think America is a flawed but fundamentally decent leading superpower, and the thought of a country like Russia or China replacing it in that role instinctively sends a chill down my spine.

      1. Oh yes, despite America’s flaws, I used to regularly say to people who used to tingle with schadenfreude whenever it faced issues, “who would you rather be the remaining super power? China? Russia? What kind of world would that look like?” Well I am afraid we are living through America’s demise in that regard and it’s not going to be good times.

        1. I used to ask the same question. No-one could ever give an answer.

          The world is a messy place, things are almost always more complicated than they seem. A good rule is be wary of anyone who isn’t prepared to acknowledge this.

  28. I agree. My father had a friend who was a Belgian ambassador in several countries. I remeber as a kid him saying: “Democracy is like an egg shell–extremely fragile.” If democracy in the US goes, the impact on the world will be unfathomable.

  29. Well said, Professor.
    Its like there’s no nadir there. Trump can always seem to do something more irresponsible (and least expected) every single day. Its more emotionally tiring than living in lock-down Manhattan Hot Zone Monkey House.
    Which I wrote about lately, btw

    (variously reproduced, wikicommons open copyright)

    W.H.O. blasted yesterday, the check signature craziness the day before, now this today, what’s next? Seriously.

    And those MAGA supporters: 1/3 of humans will cede power to psychopaths and authoritarians even in normal times, more in times of fear and chaos.
    But HIS imagination for damage and chaos is so… bewildering.

    Keep up the good work, btw, JAC, your website is the highlight of my long day.
    best regards,
    D.A., J.D., Manhattan, NYC (atty/writer)

    1. Yes, especially if he messes up the control of the virus. He will call then invoke some emergency powers.

  30. Trump’s won. Can anyone still remember that “press briefing” last week in which he played that I-am-the-greatest video? It’s already been erased from our memory banks by the man’s latest grotesquerie. And so he goes, every day consigning yesterday’s lie, last week’s outrage, to the dustbin of history, dragging us all again and again into the hell of his eternal present that has no history. That he can do what he did in that briefing – lie about his previous lies and perpetrate yet another affront to millions of years of evolution of our prefrontal cortices – and not be called to any kind of account, but just be left in peace to supplant it with obscenity no.3,582, means that we’ve followed him down the Stalinist rabbit hole. What will his implicit encouragement of mass murder be replaced by tomorrow, I wonder? In fact, why do I bother wondering at all? Why not just accept the inevitable, like Winston Smith, and just swallow his Lie of the Day whole? I’m overwhelmed by his tsunami of lies, and there comes a point when it’s easier just to stop resisting and let it get on with drowning whatever I have left that’s still human. Mr President, just tell me what you want me to believe today and I’ll believe it. Yes, Mr President, you are holding up five fingers.

    1. Actually, he is losing. At the beginning of this crisis, his approval rating received a bump as any president’s approval rating does in time of crisis, but it was only about 5%. GW Bush’s rating received a bump more like 35%. And Trump’s bump is already leeching away.

      1. I think leaders around the world received much bigger bumps too during this particular crisis.

  31. I think he’s trying to provoke enough protests/attacks from gun loving nuts to justify ordering martial law. I also fear that if (please make it happen) he looses the election in November, lots of people will die because of his hateful and violent rhetoric. His most fanatic followers will see the election results as a coup d’état against King Trump.

  32. One of the side effects of Trump’s personality disorder is that he sucks all the air out of the room and if we are not careful, like him or dislike him, we end up getting pulled into his psychiatric unstable world and it consumes us. That is what a narcissist wants. But it’s not healthy for the rest of us. How many friendships have floundered or ended due to disagreement over this guy? Too many. We have to try to talk to each other and I’m not naive. It is difficult because we can’t even agree on basic facts. I try to engage those who support him on policy grounds. It serves no purpose to start the conversation by saying “I think he is a dick.” That will get you nowhere. (By the way I think he is a dick). I say this because there will be life after Trump and if we have burned all the bridges, called each other assholes, what then? Again I don’t have any easy answers. I have Trump supporting friends who I can discuss policies with and others who will brook no discussion of any type that is negative about him. We are stunned to learn that so many want heteronomy instead of autonomy.

    To some of those who have commented above. He certainly knows how to use code words to get his point across to his base. And he keeps it vague so his supporters can take a literal approach when questioned and say, for example, he never used the word an “insurrection.” In this case it was clear from the outset that he was going to use the pandemic to try to assault the democratic governors and democrats in general. That has seemed obvious for some time because ultimately he is only concerned with himself and what promotes himself. (Unfortunately a trait most politicians seem to share)By attacking democratic governors he rallies his base in those states. We can expect that Republican governors will follow Trump’s lead on opening up society for the same political reasons.

    On a sad but lighter note, since I live in the south, I was happy to have confirmed by our enlightened governments that in the South gun shops, professional wrestling and churches are deemed “essential” businesses. I’m sure Twain or O’Connor or Mencken would have a field day with that.

    1. “There will be life after Trump and if we have burned all the bridges, called each other assholes, what then?” I agree 100% with your sentiment here (and share your 100% opposition to Trump and his presidency.) I too find that some of my conservative friends will engage on policy and some will not. But when my liberal friends focus not on policy but only on mockery and ad hominem, I too fear that they are burning bridges they may miss in “life after Trump.” (I don’t accuse Jerry of this, but feel we are speaking more generally.) I would only ask that you reconsider your attitude when you vaguely hint that championship wrestling is not an “essential business.”

      1. Why is championship wrestling an “essential business?” Are ping-pong and darts “essential businesses?” Or stamp collecting? They are hobbies, just like train watching in the UK.

        1. I agree. It’s silly but I suspect that the Florida governor knows/believes watching wrestling is a common pursuit of Trump’s base. Indeed I’ve often thought there is little difference between how crowds react at Trump rallies and how crowds react st wrestling matches. Or if you prefer conspiracy type ideas remember that Trump appointed Linda McMann as head of SBA. She and her husband own one of the largest wrestling companies.

          1. It’s actually stereotypical Trump; McMahon’s are big Trump supporters; WWE was set to lose millions of revenue by not being able to televise events; voila, pro wrestling is essential.

          2. Perhaps the democrats need to hire someone that is used to managing wrestling crowds to advise on how to conduct the campaign. I once heard an interview with Chris Rock on Al Franken’s show on XM & he talked about how comedians know how to manage a crowd because crowds can be very dangerous & you need to know how to give them time down from being hyped up, etc. I think some wisdom from people who have scripted the “heel” etc. might be beneficial.

    2. It would be great to be able to have a calm reasonable discussion with a Trump supporter but in over three years I have yet to meet one that is able to. Without exception every time I point out Trump’s many faults I am attacked and insulted. They simply refuse to acknowledge facts.

      1. Matt,
        It can be difficult if not impossible with some. Again I try not to focus on Trump’s personality disorder and instead try to shift discussions to his policies. Often they overlap and it is made more difficult because you are never sure what will set them off. I have a theory that somehow someway being a Trump supporter has given them the feeling of transcendence and belonging that they lost with the weakening of religion. The same way that organized religion gave them a sense of belonging and community, strangely, being a Trump supporter does the same thing. Sounds odd I know but my impression is that when we attack Trump they view it as a personal attack, unable to separate disagreeing on ideas with attacking them. Maybe the part of the brain that has a religious instinct is the same as the part that inclines one to politics. I don’t know.

        My only suggestion remains that we talk policies and leave out Trump’s personal idiosyncrasies. And as I noted that has worked with some of his supporters that I am able to have discussions with.

  33. He fancies himself Louis XIV, but he’s got the leadership skills of Louis XVI.

    Interesting to me that the didn’t call out the western states on his little traitorous tirade this morning. I wonder why not?

    1. Thank goodness he’s not a very intelligent genius as he claims he is. If he wasn’t so half baked he could be much more dangerous. I think of him as a clown-form Mussolini.

    1. Pliny: “Well, at least Trump Delusional Syndrome…”

      Well, it is–it was just a term that was misapplied since the beginning. Correctly understood, TDS describes those people unable to grasp not merely the Mango Mussolini’s utter failings as a leader, but his utter failings at the least qualities of a human being.

  34. This is the first time I’m putting this thought into print, but I will be donating the entire $1200 allocated for me from my family’s stimulus check to the Joe Biden campaign.

    Joe Biden wasn’t my first or even third choice. I didn’t vote for him in the primary election here in WA. But it is absolutely essential that he wins in November, and wins convincingly enough that even this politicized Supreme Court cannot tilt the scales and keep the deranged narcissist in office after the election.

    Well, there, I said it. I’m committed now. This was my most expensive comment ever on the Internet. I hope it proves to be money well spent, and I hope against hope that it is not in vain.

    1. That sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll do the same. A nice gesture. I’m sure Biden will be well enough financed by the fat cats of the Democratic Party, but there would be quite a bit of satisfaction in knowing you helped, at least in a small way, set the universe back on it’s axis.

      1. I tried to send Joe some $$, as I tried with Pete, but for them to accept my money from a Canuck address they want a photocopy of my US passport, which I don’t really want “out there”.

          1. Take a little off the top (as I used to joke with a Nigerian friend when he told his story about how he would deliver a bag of money to a politician running against the candidate he worked for to drop out of the race and he’d take a little for himself before it got there).

    2. Now there’s a trend I whole hardheartedly support. Good on you. Hope it catches on. Cashing a check with his name on it would be unsettling…never even thought Trump was the fool he has turned out to be. I knew he was bad, but I underestimated his bad by magnitudes. I won’t be getting a check, so I can only support your tough decision.

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