Donald Trump has essentially ignored the law his entire life, and he is fully prepared to ignore the Constitution’s 8th Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment if he’s re-elected.
On Friday, Trump promised a group of California MAGAs that he would use “federal assets” — by which he means the United States military, as he once mentioned in a CPAC speech— to shoot mass shoplifters and looters.
He’s promising the death penalty (without the constitutionally mandated due process) for being part of a group bum rush to steal a phone or some other relatively minor item.
As is Trump’s pattern, he promised to deploy these “federal assets” in the bluest areas of the country, the areas which also, if Trump illegally steals the election, would be the areas most likely to rise up in protest. Unless the military is already there to prevent protests.
Fox News reported the story, which makes one wonder whether the decision was made because they believe the idea would be popular with most of their MAGA audience (Trump’s California audience applauded) or —because the Murdochs don’t support him — the idea demonstrates that he’s insane.
According to Fox News reporting:
“Trump addressed the California GOP during a Friday luncheon where he discussed ideas to restore law and order in Golden State cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.”
Trump promised to do everything he could — “including sending as many federal assets as required to restore safety and peace” — for cities that he determines to have a breakdown of law and order.
“We will immediately stop all of the pillaging and theft. Very simply, if you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store. Shot!” Trump said.
Trump might get away with his plan if he deployed the military under the Insurrection Act – which I think would happen at 1:00 p.m. on January 20, 2025, if Trump somehow comes back into power.
He would likely justify the Insurrection Act by talking about the situation on the border and about big cities with “crime problems.”
He would want the military to clamp down on California likely out of vindication for losing it by 30 points.
Trump has stolen millions from many people, from subcontractors who were stiffed, to banks who loaned at lower rates due to his fraudulent claims, and from the United States and state governments by filing fraudulent tax returns.
If he wants looters shot to death, he rightfully should be considered one of them.
A judge has already found that Trump cleared the bar of “clear and convincing evidence,” (a higher bar than most civil cases require), finding Trump liable for civil fraud, which, in his case, inherently involved stealing money that wasn’t his.
Trump stole tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, not a $500 television.
Additionally, Trump has been charged under the Espionage Act for keeping Top-Secret Special Access documents.
He has been charged with fraudulently trying to steal an election for president.
None of those cases involve anything remotely like the “death penalty.”
Even though this is from a different part of the speech, I find it relevant to the man’s blood lust.
A thing I believe to my core is that if the mob had, in fact, lynched Mike Pence on Jan 6, Trump would
a) be making jokes about it just like this to big laughs from these crowds
b) still be the runaway front-runner for the Republican nomination https://t.co/PdXuoA2j2c
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 29, 2023
This is the man who wanted protesters shot in the legs. This is the man who had Stephen Miller telling him to use the Insurrection Act because BLM and Antifa were “burning the country to the ground, and the barbarians are at the gate.”
Luckily, before Trump could seriously consider it, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Milley (who would be commanding the ones overseeing the “putting down the protests”) said, “STFU, Stephen. America isn’t burning.”
And, at CPAC, the man gave a speech in which he promised to send the military into cities that “weren’t enforcing the law.”
As awful and tyrannical as it sounds, I believe Trump would make this exact move and go through with it. He wants the authority to kill his American “enemies.”
He cannot be allowed anywhere near power again.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on X @JasonMiciak.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.