Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Some of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies are urging conservatives to refrain from protesting if Trump is arrested on Tuesday.
In a Truth Social post on Saturday, Trump predicted that the Manhattan District Attorney would arrest him as part of an investigation into whether he paid adult film star Stormy Daniel hush money in 2016, and called for supporters to protest his arrest.
Following the post, there has been a groundswell of support for Trump from his supporters as well as more moderate conservatives who say the implications point to a “two-tiered justice system” that targets conservatives.
The potential charges would be based on shaky legal footing, experts say, as it would seek to link the falsifying of business documents to cover up the alleged payments and campaign finance violations.
If Trump is indicted it would be the first time that a former U.S. president faces criminal charges.
However, both House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have called for even the most diehard of Trump supporters to avoid picketing.
Greene initially based her stance on a belief that Trump being arrested would actually play in his favor.
“We don’t need to protest about the Communists Democrat’s planning to arrest Pres Trump and the political weaponization of our government and election interference,” Greene tweeted Saturday. “These idiots are sealing their own fate in 2024 because the silent majority has two feelings right now about the current regime. Fear and anger.”
We don’t need to protest about the Communists Democrat’s planning to arrest Pres Trump and the political weaponization of our government and election interference.
These idiots are sealing their own fate in 2024 because the silent majority has two feelings right now about the… https://t.co/LQJbh559bT
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) March 18, 2023
The Georgia congresswoman has since expanded her justification to include a concern that federal agents would infiltrate MAGA protests, a nod to a long-held belief among Trump supporters that the Jan. 6, 2021, riot was sparked by undercover agitators.
“There are a lot of concerns about protests because of people like Ray Epps and Scaffold Commander,” Greene said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Sunday. “There are a lot of reasons to believe there were feds or fed assets instigating the riot at the Capitol on January 6th.”
McCarthy, speaking to reporters at a Republican retreat, was broader and briefer, but still very much in the camp that protesting a Trump arrest was not in the best interest of conservatives.
“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy said. He added, “And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn’t believe that either.”
McCarthy’s comments might ring strange to some readers, as Trump’s Truth Social post gave every indication that he wished for protests to occur if he were arrested:
Now illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district [attorney’s] office, which has allowed new records to be set in violent crime & whose leader is funded by George Soros, indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven, & based on an old & fully debunked (by numerous other prosecutors!) fairytale, the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week. Protest, take our nation back!
Trump seemed to walk his request back within hours of making it. Later on Saturday, he was still calling for protest, but no longer protests of any one particular matter. Rather, Trump asked his supporters to protest the general state of things in the U.S.
“It’s time!!!” Trump wrote, again in all-caps. “We are a nation in steep decline, being led into World War III by a crooked politician who doesn’t even know he’s alive, but who is surrounded by evil & sinister people who, based on their actions on defunding the police, destroying our military, open borders, no voter I.D., inflation, raising taxes, & much more, can only hate our now failing USA. We just can’t allow this anymore. They’re killing our nation as we sit back & watch. We must save America! Protest, protest, protest!!!”
In any case, peaceful protest is legal in the United States, so the debate becomes moot so long as protestors obey the law.
A CONSERVATIVE TEST
While the potential arrest of a former U.S. president caused quite a stir over the weekend, there is still a distinct possibility that it may not come to fruition.
Robert Costello, who served as a legal advisor to former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, is set to testify before the New York grand jury on Monday to give counter-evidence that could exonerate Trump.
Additionally, Bragg has not commented on the assertions that an indictment is coming Tuesday, only saying that his office will not tolerate intimidation attempts.
Many on the left and right believe that an arrest would simply rally support behind Trump and invigorate his base.
New Hampshire Governor and potential 2024 GOP presidential nominee Chris Sununu told CNN’s Jake Trapper that he believes that an indictment will build sympathy for the former president even from those who are not die-hard Trump supporters.
“This is likely some sort of misdemeanor on an issue seven years ago. This has nothing to do with January 6th,” Sununu said. “I just think that the – not just the media – but a lot of the Democrats have misplayed this in terms of building sympathy for the former president. And it does drastically change the paradigm as we go into the 2024 election.”
Trump’s weekend claim and calls for action could, ultimately, become a way for him and his base to confirm which Republicans are willing to rally to his side; to, as Trump often says, separate the MAGA from the RINO on the right.
“Remember, the same animals and thugs that would do this to perhaps 200 million people, but actually all Americans, are the communists, Marxists, RINOs, and losers that are purposefully destroying our country!” Trump wrote on Truth Social Sunday night.
Greene indicated on multiple occasions that she viewed Trump’s potential arrest as a rallying point.
“It feels like 2017 all over again,” Greene tweeted Sunday. “When the Russia hoax started and Republicans backed away from our innocent President Trump and allowed him to be viciously attacked and lied about. The base will not support Republicans who back away this time.
“The base feels like if the Republican Party can’t, or worse, won’t stop the Communist Democrat’s weaponized political machine trying to arrest President Trump for stupid fake charges, then they can’t trust Republicans to do anything. I don’t blame them.”
In an earlier tweet, Greene wrote “those Republicans that stand by and cheer for [Trump’s] persecution or do nothing to stop it will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base.”