For what may be the first time in American history, liberals and conservatives, from the far left to the far right, are united in their opposition to President Trump’s show of force using unmarked federal agents to quell peaceful protests in cities across America.
“This is just like Gestapo tactics,” said one member of a right-wing militia group that initially supported Trump in 2016. “He’s gone too far and his actions not only violate the constitution, but infringe on our God-given and constitutional right to liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.”
As Trump readies to deploy federal agents to Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, Republicans and Democrats are united in saying that Trump has overstepped his constitutional authority and now presents a real threat to democracy.
Rarely in American history have opposition political parties agreed in such uniformity.
Homeland Security officials said Monday they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing spates of crime.
Trump made the pronouncement as he defended his administration’s use of force in Portland, Ore., where agents have clashed nightly with protesters and made arrests from unmarked cars. Calling the unrest there “worse than Afghanistan,” Trump’s rhetoric escalated tensions with Democratic mayors and governors who have criticized the presence of federal agents on U.S. streets, telling reporters at the White House that he would send forces into jurisdictions with or without the cooperation of their elected leaders.
“We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left,” Trump said.
However, it’s the “radical right” that is supporting the “radical left” in opposition to Trump’s moves.
A retired federal agent with knowledge of Ruby Ridge and Waco, as well as an 81-day standoff with the sovereign citizen-influenced Montana Freemen in 1996 and the Republic of Texas militia group in 1997, sees numerous parallels between the political climate then and now.
Many of the people attracted to such movements are middle-aged white guys, he said. Normally they are supporters of Trump, but now they see their rights infringed upon by the illegal use of federal agents against American citizens, with the battles taking place in our own American streets and cities.
With his poll numbers sinking amid widespread frustration at his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has cast himself as a law-and-order strongman who will pacify U.S. communities roiled in recent months by spreading disease, the economic crisis and large street protests for racial justice. Trump has wielded images of violent demonstrations, though the vast majority of racial justice protests have been peaceful.
Three Department of Homeland Security officials said Monday that the agency has been making preparations to deploy agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to Chicago, but the officials said operational details are not yet finalized.
On Sunday, Trump lashed out at the Democratic officials in Oregon who have asked his administration to withdraw from Portland, saying the heavy-handed tactics of DHS agents was exacerbating the confrontation outside the federal courthouse where violent clashes have played out over the past several weeks.
Border Patrol swat teams from the agency’s BORTAC tactical unit have squared off against peaceful protesters. While Trump calls the protesters “anarchists,” the fact is that most are peaceful and exercising their right to assemble and protest, which is guaranteed in the constitution.
Now, people on the right and the left are united in saying that Trump has gone too far and that his attempts to portray himself as a protector of America will backfire as his moves are seen as nothing less than an assault on basic human liberties and freedoms.
For the first time, people from all political viewpoints – conservatives and liberals; democrats, republicans and independents; are all saying that Trump must go.