March 24, 2023

Three white men convicted of plan to bomb mosque just used the “Trump defense” in court

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In case we needed any more evidence that Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and barely concealed dog whistles to white supremacists are actively encouraging domestic white terrorism against religious and ethnic minorities, look no further than the defense arguments of Kansas militiamen who were busted plotting to bomb a mosque.

Right-wing terrorists Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen, who called themselves the “Crusaders,” were arrested in October 2016 after their plot to start a religious war with a “bloodbath” of Muslims was revealed to the feds by a co-conspirator.

They have all been convicted on one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights by a jury, and one was charged with lying to the FBI.

Now they await their sentencing for their would-be misdeeds, and defense attorneys are blaming the President for riling them up.

“The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful and contentious presidential elections in modern history, driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president” argued a sentencing memorandum.

“As long as the Executive Branch condemns Islam and commends and encourages violence against would-be enemies, then a sentence imposed by the Judicial Branch does little to deter people generally from engaging in such conduct if they believe they are protecting their countries from enemies identified by their own Commander-in-Chief,”

While these arguments should not sway the judge one bit, it most certainly should be held up as evidence that the President and the right-wing propaganda machine are actively radicalizing disaffected conservatives much in the same way that Daesh (ISIS) successfully did over the past few years.

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The defense pointed to the president’s tweets this week in which he referred to immigration as an “invasion” by “very bad people” as evidence that the men were just following Trump’s implicit instructions and defending their country.

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Last week’s attempted pipe-bombings of the principal characters in the President’s pantheon of enemies and this weekend’s horrifying massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue were both committed by white supremacists who had been directly inspired by the conspiracy theories promoted by the President, the Republican Party, and the conservative media machine.

Now that we’ve learned that the Trump administration is actively ignoring the threat posed by white supremacists and focusing solely on chasing imaginary boogeymen as an excuse to use the powers of law enforcement to terrify and persecute undocumented migrants, it’s clear that these kinds of appalling terror attacks are at the very least a tolerable or even welcome side effect, if not a direct goal of the radical right.

Donald Trump and his goose-stepping cronies are a clear and present danger to the American people, and our first step to holding them accountable is to seize back the reins of power in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Original reporting by Roxana Hegeman at the Associated Press.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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