Meh, whatever. Jeff Flake will score the ultimate revenge when he casts the 67th vote in the Senate for removal after being defeated by Trump’s handpicked primary challenger.
If this sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Intimations of violence were also Team Trump’s favored reply the last time he was threatened with being “cheated” out of something he had won. Last year before the GOP convention, Trump responded to the prospect of a delegate revolt by saying, “I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do. I believe that. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.” If “bad things” is too vague for you, he spelled it out: “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots. I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people.” He was, as noted, careful to say that he wouldn’t “lead” the riots, but you don’t need to be atop the barricades yourself to lend moral legitimacy to violent action. (Just look at the Antifa apologists popping up in media lately to whitewash them as a “self-defense” outfit.) Trump was plenty clear in hinting that he thought riots would be justified despite lacking his personal participation. Which was par for the course for him during the campaign.
Stone, however, stood out among the dark fantasists of Trump’s inner circle for his willingness to imagine violence not just as retaliation for Trump losing the nomination but violence as a means of deterrence. Remember this?
“We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal,” Stone said Monday in a discussion with Stefan Molyneux on Freedomain Radio, as he alleged that Trump’s opponents planned to deny the democratic will of Republican primary voters.
“If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them. You have a right to discuss this, if you voted in the Pennsylvania primary, for example, and your votes are being disallowed,” Stone said.
The choice of the word “discuss” there is worth its weight in gold. Stone too, like Trump last year, is careful to mention in passing here that he’s not condoning violent reprisals if Trump is impeached, merely “predicting” them. But predictions of otherwise unthinkable acts can increase the odds of them happening simply by making them thinkable. Stone can say until he’s blue in the face that he wouldn’t support attacks on congressmen who voted for impeachment (although who would believe him?) but he’s moving the Overton window towards legitimizing that sort of reaction, just as Trump did when he decided to muse publicly about riots if he was denied the nomination at a brokered convention. Imagine Chuck Schumer saying something like “I sure hope there are no assassination attempts on Republicans if they strip Americans of their Medicaid” and you’ll see what I mean. The implied threat is clear enough even without explicit endorsement.