Monday a pro-Trump site called National File published a story aimed at Alvin Bragg. The story was illustrated with an incendiary photo montage. On the left was a photo of Trump holding a baseball bat. On the right, a photo of Alvin Bragg.
The photos might have gone unnoticed except that Trump himself posted a link to the story on his Truth Social site. And that got lots of attention from people who accused Trump of calling for violence against Bragg.
This threat is obstruction of justice and is a dangerous call to violence. Everyone needs to speak out pic.twitter.com/wGGRKvx9lu
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) March 23, 2023
Trump has today issued repeated stochastic terrorist calls for his cult to "remove" the "animal" Alvin Bragg – and use a baseball bat.@DHSgov and @TheJusticeDept need to arrest him, today. No perp walk, no bail.
He's trying to get this man killed. Period. Enough. pic.twitter.com/HDEHEOBrQC
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 23, 2023
To be very clear, Trump didn’t create the photo montage but some of the other things he said were skirting the line pretty closely. Karen wrote about this earlier today. Trump was careful not to call for riots he just suggested there would be “potential death & destruction” if Alvin Bragg indicts an innocent man like him.
Some will say he’s describing not prescribing, i.e. predicting what will happen not what he wants to happen. But who is he predicting will get violent here if not his own supporters? Are DeSantis supporters going to riot if Trump is indicted? I really doubt it. Who is in a better position to tell his own supporters not to be violent than Trump? So the fact that he conspicuously doesn’t do that is intentional. I get that some people still want to play the game pretending he didn’t actually say what he clearly implied but I’m not playing along.
Anyway, that’s the backstory which leads us to this story from NBC News. Someone sent Alvin Bragg a death threat in an envelope filled with white powder.
The FBI and NYPD are investigating a letter containing a death threat and white powder that was mailed to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is investigating former President Donald Trump, law-enforcement sources told NBC News.
The letter was addressed to Bragg and said, ““ALVIN: I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the sources said. It contained a small amount of white powder.
The powder wasn’t dangerous. The letter itself was postmarked Tuesday and was mailed from Orlando. It entirely possible the letter was sent by some marginal character who has been getting a little too worked up with the idea that Trump’s arrest over hush money to a porn star is the end of the constitution (which it really isn’t, even if it happens). But we don’t actually know that yet and until we do it’s not fair to draw conclusions.
In other words, I’m not a believer in stochastic terrorism, the theory by which conservatives (and only conservatives) are responsible for any bad behavior that might conceivably be connected to their speech. The left never, ever cares about this idea when the people receiving the death threats are, for instance, conservative Justices on the Supreme Court. We had a man show up at one Justices’s home with weapons and still the White House wouldn’t ask protesters not to protest outside the justices homes. If this doesn’t apply both ways then it shouldn’t be brought up at all.
Is it possible that whoever sent this threat was directly inspired by something Trump said? Sure it’s possible but that connection has to be proven carefully with actual facts, not assumed as it was a decade ago with Sarah Palin’s connections to a mass shooter. In that case it turned out she had nothing to do with the crime and the shooter had no knowledge of the district targeting map that was universally blamed for his violent actions. He was just a deranged and dangerous nut and that’s all there was to it. The same could well be the case here but my guess is many people on the left won’t wait for the proof of a tangible connection. It’s a lot easier to make vague allegations of incitement than it is to wait and see what actually happened.
In any case, I do think we’re all better off when politicians bring the temperature down rather than try to escalate it for their own benefit as Trump is doing now.