Trump gives up trying to muster supportive crowds for his indictments
Biggest protests ever? Hardly. A handful of supporters of former President Donald Trump chant and wave flags during a rally to welcome him home in West Palm Beach, Fla. Trump was returning to Mar-a-Lago after his arraignment in a Manhattan courthouse. | Wilfredo Lee / AP

Donald Trump tried hard in New York before the first of his now four indictments to turn out a huge Jan. 6-type crowd of right-wing protesters defending him against prosecution. He said on Twitter that if the District Attorney went ahead with an indictment, “the American people won’t stand for it” and the biggest protests in U.S. history could well happen. Instead, the handful of demonstrators that showed up were far outnumbered by the press that day.

Ahead of the indictment he faces in Florida over the stolen documents he held at Mar-a-Lago, Trump again called for mass protests in his favor, saying on social media that the American people needed to show up there too to “take back the country.” He sounded the same way he did ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection he organized at the Capitol.

Again, in Mar-a-Lago, he was lucky if 100 people showed up, and those who did were more interested in catching a glimpse of Trump the celebrity than in rioting for him and getting arrested. The biggest action they took that day was snapping selfies of one another to send back to relatives and friends at home, just to say, “I was here.”

When he was indicted in Washington, for the third time, he finally realized no big crowds were going to turn out for him and he made no attempt whatsoever to urge his supporters to come and “take back America.”

On Monday this week, he said he will be turning himself in on Thursday at the Fulton County, Ga., jail for his fourth indictment, again issuing no call for the huge crowds that he now knows won’t show.

Even though the masses of adoring fans that he desired failed to show in New York and Florida, Trump did not give up, however. Fascists use flexible tactics, and his was to step up attacks on prosecutors, judges, witnesses, and potential jurors. Even that avenue is closing now for Trump due to the no-nonsense approach of Fani Willis and the courts in both Georgia and Washington.

In Georgia, his bail has been set at $200,000 and authorities fully intend on fingerprinting him and taking the mug shots that are the norm when anyone else is arraigned. The conditions of his bail are a warning that the court will not tolerate any intimidation of witnesses or jurors, or anyone else “known to him” that is connected in any way to the trial. He’s also forbidden to re-tweet threats made by anyone else, something he has done in the past in order to avoid claims that he is violating bail conditions.

Regardless, in the time between his failed attempt to turn out crowds of supporters at his first two indictments last week, Trump continued to violate the conditions of his bail set by the court in Washington, D.C. In fact, he has an appearance there on Monday when the judge is expected to issue some form of sanction against him for the violation of his bail agreement there.

He has gone from calling for “THE BIGGEST PROTESTS EVER” and urging his supporters to use the scene of the indictments to “TAKE BACK YOUR COUNTRY” to now meekly claiming he is the victim of persecution, with his lawyers taking the approach that he is totally immune, as a past president, from any prosecution whatsoever. It is the same approach taken by Richard Nixon in the last century when he said that the president was not capable of doing anything illegal. “If the president does it, it is lawful,” Nixon declared at that time.

Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, is saying essentially the same thing about himself. The absurd argument is that the president and White House staff can never be prosecuted for any crime.

So, it seems that the civil war which Trump predicted would break out if he was indicted is not going to happen. It seems that the 1,000 Trumpites arrested after the Jan. 6 insurrection and now sitting in jail have helped put a damper on the folks he is counting on to launch a civil war on his behalf. That’s a good thing.

The MAGA fascists, like fascists historically and around the world, don’t give up, however, because of a small matter like not being able to turn out adoring crowds for their great leader.

Turn to terrorism

In recent weeks, they have turned to outright terrorism, hoping that it will have an effect. The terror is carried out by individuals or small groups rather than by massive crowds.

In Utah, a MAGA terrorist was shot recently in a confrontation with the FBI after he threatened to kill President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden was visiting the state for speeches on the environment and infrastructure.

There have been constant threats on the life of election officials in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and elsewhere.

In Texas, a Trumpite issued death threats against Judge Tanya Chutkan and against Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

In Georgia, photos of the grand jurors with their personal information and threats against them were posted on right-wing social media sites. People were urged to “make it impossible for them to even walk down the streets.”

Similar death threats were made by phone and on the internet against Fani Willis, who is prosecuting Trump in Georgia and who now needs a security detail to move around all day from home to work and back.

The growing threat of individual and small group MAGA and white nationalist terrorism, then, is something the nation has to contend with, despite the fact that in the near future, at least, it does not seem like Trump will be able to reproduce the massive crowds of terrorists unleashed on Jan. 6.

One of many: In this image from U.S. Capitol Police security video, Fredrico Guillermo Klein, circled in red, is seen in the tunnel of the Lower West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Klein, who worked as a Trump appointee in the State Department, was convicted of charges that he attacked police officers at the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection by a mob of Trump supporters. Trump is unable to generate large mobs these days in the wake of his indictments, so many of his backers are turning to individual acts of terrorism on behalf of their leader. | Justice Department via AP

On top of the terror practiced now regularly by Trumpites across the country, there is a stepped-up campaign by Trump supporters to use so-called legal means to subvert democracy and institute MAGA rule.

As Trump prepared to head to the Fulton County jailhouse this week to turn himself in, there is a move by Republicans in the Georgia state legislature to use a law they passed in May to remove Willis from office. She was elected by the people of Georgia, but right-wing Republicans have passed a law that allows them to remove her from her elected position and replace her with someone who will drop the prosecution of Trump and the 18 other MAGA criminals.

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock went on national television last night to alert the public and warn them about this action against Willis. “This is a blatant attack on democracy,” he declared, “and democracy is the framework under which we are able to fight for all the things that are important to us.”

Indeed, without democracy, the fights for workers’ rights and a living wage, racial equality, the right of women to health care and abortion services, the right to read the books of our choice, the right to health care for all and decent housing, Social Security and Medicare—all rights and all progress are in danger.

This is what is at stake in the indictments of Donald Trump, and this is why everything possible must be done to defeat the Republicans in the 2024 elections—elections that promise to be the most consequential in U.S. history.

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John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.