Trump did not name the prosecutors he was referring to, but he made his meaning clear by naming their locations. “If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” he said. New York Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and Willis are all Black, as is Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the select committee investigating Jan. 6.
”In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you,” he said as James and Bragg investigate the Trump Organization’s financial dealings, as if Trump supporters were the ones claiming inflated valuations of Trump properties for the purposes of getting loans and deflated valuations for the purposes of taxation, among other such complex financial maneuvers.
But even more than the gross demonization of prosecutors doing their jobs as “vicious, horrible” and “racists” and “very sick—mentally sick” and “radical, vicious, racist,” Trump’s call to his supporters to take action against the prosecutors he had just described in dehumanizing terms is particularly scary.
“I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt” in particular stands as a potent incitement to Trump’s supporters—and a dangerous echo of his Dec. 19, 2020 tweet promoting the Jan. 6 rally that turned into a bloody attack on the U.S. Capitol. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted. “Be there, will be wild!”
Trump’s speech was Saturday. On Sunday, Willis wrote to J.C. Hacker, the head of the FBI’s Atlanta field office, saying that “security concerns were escalated this weekend” in reference to Trump’s speech, and requesting a risk assessment of the courthouse where a special grand jury to investigate Trump will soon be impaneled, as well as surrounding buildings. Willis also requested that the FBI “provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents.”
”We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Willis wrote. She’s right to be concerned: That appears to be exactly what Donald Trump is trying to incite, and we have to assume he’s just getting started.