So President Trump is worried there will be violence if the Democrats win in November.
“They will overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently — and violently,” Trump reportedly told evangelical Christian leaders at a private White House dinner Monday. Citing Antifa (anarchists, not Democrats) and “some of these groups,” Trump added, “these are violent people.”
His concern is entirely understandable. The Democrats are a menace to public safety. It is time to hit this threat to domestic tranquility right between the eyes — and to arm teachers with guns just in case a Democrat wanders into one of their classrooms looking for trouble.
This week, for example, I was sure Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was about to cane Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on the Senate floor (restarting the 1856 feud in which a South Carolinian attacked Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner). Fortunately, an overheard remark about income distribution tables distracted Warren from unleashing American carnage.
And in the House, there is no more aggressive a man than 78-year-old Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. In Selma, Ala., in 1965, he rammed his head into a state trooper’s club so forcefully he fractured his skull.
Even with the departure of Harry Reid (amateur boxer) and Al Franken (high-school wrestler), Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democrats are a fearsome caucus; you can see it in the way Schumer practically dares Republicans to dislodge his reading glasses from the tip of his nose. And Republicans are quite reasonably intimidated by the imposing lineup of House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, 78, Steny Hoyer, 79, and Jim Clyburn, 78.
Peace-loving people recoil at the violence Democrats have shown themselves capable of: Democratic Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana was sentenced to community service and anger-management classes for assaulting a reporter on the eve of his election, and Democratic Rep. Michael Grimm of New York once threatened on the night of the State of the Union to throw a reporter off a balcony, saying, “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Wait — strike that. Gianforte and Grimm are Republicans.
But surely, Americans recall the Democrats’ violent rhetoric on the campaign trail:
Hillary Clinton: “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.”
Tim Kaine: “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”
Remember, too, when Bernie Sanders said he’d like to “see what happens” if his opponent lost Secret Service protection and suggested “the Second Amendment people” should be able to attack her judicial nominees?
Oops — my bad, again. Those were all things Trump said.
It was also Trump who twice tweeted images of pretend violence being done to journalists, who tweeted videos purporting to show violence being done by Muslims, whose rallies were characterized by people roughing up demonstrators with Trump’s encouragement, whose longtime adviser threatened a “bloodbath” if Trump lost the election, who himself suggested “you would have riots” and “bad things would happen” if he were denied the Republican nomination, and who now leads crowds to menace the “horrible, horrendous people” in the press section.
The man has a knack for blaming his opponents for the exact offense he has committed.
The violent talk has consequences, and not just in the death threats visited on journalists. Civil rights groups report a surge in hate crimes, anti-Semitic incidents and the like since Trump’s rise. Some, such as the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria gunman, are clearly tied to conspiracy theorists Trump has helped to boost.
One suspects Schumer, required to listen to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s daily lickspittle routine on the Senate floor, might fantasize about one day turning to his good friend from Kentucky and punching the gentleman in his honorable nose. But in real life he must content himself by attempting to fell McConnell with a withering turn of phrase. And New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the 5-foot-4 ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, could be forgiven for daydreaming about landing a roundhouse kick to the chin of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte when he abuses procedures to silence opposition. In real life, Nadler can only raise a point of parliamentary inquiry.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, by contrast, is talking about armed rebellion. If Trump is impeached, Giuliani announced, from a golf cart in Scotland, “the American people would revolt.”
There is indeed something revolting about all this, but it isn’t the American people.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.