In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.
If Trump has a political philosophy, one of its main tenets is toxic masculinity — the use of menace and swagger to cover his mental and moral impotence. And the mini-Trumps have taken their master’s lead. When Trump operative Stephen K. Bannon proposed that Anthony S. Fauci should be beheaded, when Trump ally Joseph diGenova said a federal cybersecurity official should be “taken out at dawn and shot,” when Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani urged Trump supporters to engage in “trial by combat,” all of this was more than paunchy, pathetic, aging White men talking smack they could never back up. It exemplified a type of politics where cruelty is the evidence of commitment, brutality is the measure of loyalty and violence is equated with power.
Georgia Republicans who in the aftermath of the 2020 election would not go along with Trump’s false claims about election fraud in that state faced death threats, intimidation, and harassment, according to Gabriel Sterling, a Republican official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office. The home of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, was targeted too. This week I talked with a Republican election official in Arizona, Stephen Richer, who has spoken out against what he refers to as Trump’s “unhinged” claims about election fraud in Maricopa County. (Richer says Trump’s claims are “as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5.”) He told me he has received death threats and has been forced to take measures to protect his and his family’s safety. And these examples are hardly unusual.
Members’ concerns have been validated by the U.S. Capitol Police, who report that threats against lawmakers have increased by 107 percent in just the first five months of the year compared with last year.
“Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase,” the Capitol Police wrote earlier this month in response to an inspector general report.
Democratic leaders said they are trying to be responsive to the concerns of members and included $21.5 million for member safety regarding travel and district office security upgrades as part of a $1.9 billion proposal to fortify security at the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 attack. The bill passed the House on a narrow 213 to 212 vote last week.