Schwab: The threat from a weaponized Republican Party

With baseball bat in hand, Trump calls to arms (or tacit approval) those who would overthrow the Republic.

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

In response to anger over his abolitionist advocacy, William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, wrote this in 1831:

“I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm … but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I will not equivocate … AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

Everyone, not just columnists, can be heard. By friends, family. By their conscience. If Donald Trump’s and his congressional conspirators’ recent behavior doesn’t end their political careers, and if you’ve not said something, anything, to anyone, you’re with them. After Trump made undeniable his intent to subvert America to save himself, no Republican leader has had the guts to place country above power and party. Witnessing his hate for everything that our country stands for and by which it has survived as the world’s most durable democracy, their craven, cowardly silence is an indictment more powerful than any heading Trump’s way.

Fully aware of how his cultists respond to his unsubtle calls for violence, Trump posted a picture of himself wielding a baseball bat next to a photo of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s head. Predictable as lies at his rallies, death threats ensued. On his Truthless Social platform, he ranted like a street-corner doomsayer: “What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States … and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known … that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” Death and destruction. Subtle (New York Post:

“Bragg,” he on-rambled, “is a Soros backed animal who just doesn’t care about right or wrong no matter how many people are hurt,” — projection much? — “this is Russia and China” — whose leaders he later praised as “very smart people” — “but worse. Disgraceful! … He is just carrying out the plans of the radical left lunatics. Our country is being destroyed, as they tell us to be peaceful!”

An animal! Backed by a Jew! Radical left! Don’t be peaceful! Grab a bat and follow me. I’ll be right behind you.

There’s been no condemnation from elected Republicans. To the contrary, offering a free pass for all crimes Trump has committed or has yet to, House Republicans floated a law preventing state or local prosecution of any ex-president. Insurrection-lauding Marjorie Taylor Greene led a flagrant flock of fellow felon-fluffers to visit and glorify incarcerated Jan. 6 rioters, calling them “political prisoners.” Later, she demanded defunding “the justice system.” Which, because it’s America, had given them fair trials and found them guilty (Independent:

At last weekend’s Wacko rally, miming allegiance to justice, Trump stood hand-hearted, as a sappy recording blared his voice and those of convicted Jan. 6 felons singing our national anthem. While video of their seditious attack on the Capitol played, reverentially, like a hymn. Trump and MAGA Republicans are all in on insurrection. Without irony and to cheers of his unpatriots, he eructed his usual election lies, poor-me-isms, and a promise that, if elected, “The thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited and totally disgraced.” We can hope.

It’s not those who’d apply the law to Trump who threaten our country; it’s those who wouldn’t. Until Republican leaders renounce him and his poisonous anti-Americanism, voting for any of them is nearly treasonous. So says respected conservative, retired Federal Judge, Michael Luttig: “The Republican Party has made its decision that the war against America’s Democracy and the Rule of Law it instigated on January 6 will go on, prosecuted to its catastrophic end” (Bulwark:

People like those who attend Trump’s rallies to have their hatreds and grievances validated by a lying sociopath will never forswear him. But for congresspeople sworn to defend our Constitution, and anyone who believes in America, there’s no longer any excuse to excuse Trump. There never was.

“If they can come for Trump, they can come for you,” say his mouthpieces. But it’s the reverse: If they can come for you for committing crimes, they must come for him, too.

Conservatism can survive another four years of job and economic growth, protecting public education, rebuilding infrastructure, addressing climate change, protecting voting and civil rights, women’s and LGBTQ rights; providing for people in need, strengthening NATO, and more.

It cannot endure another four years of Trumpism, though, and neither can America. Aiming to destroy the Republic to escape justice, Trump endangers us all. Silence is complicity.

William Lloyd Garrison was a Republican.

Email Sid Schwab at

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