April 12, 2021 Editor

How Trump Unleashed a Domestic Terrorism Movement—

And What Experts Say Must Be Done to Defeat It

“He tells them what to do. He tells them why they’re angry.”

photo above: Nate Gowdy

WN: Trump continues to inspire hatred and acts of violence worldwide. His is the height of White Grievance Politics–and so tragic for the millions of victims who fall prey to such xenophobia. A rewording of his cry excerpted below is in fact: “They’re not making this White House Black. . .  –or any other colour!” But too late! We Canadians (well, British forebears) already did that (“kicked ass” to use Mo Brooks’ words seen below) in the War of 1812!

That said: The United States’ signature foreign policy worldwide has ever been about “promoting terrorism!” (Juliette Kayyem)–as so much of this website is taken with, in its dedication to “The Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire.


Even the wifi password was a signal. Attendees at President Donald Trump’s rally in Dalton, Georgia, on January 4 who wanted to log in to the Make America Great network had to enter the phrase into their devices: “SeeYouJan6!” Trump was in town that night ostensibly to boost two Republican Senate candidates, but he spent much of his speech railing about the “stolen” 2020 election—and inciting supporters to descend on the nation’s capital two days later. “They’re not taking this White House,” he declared, Marine One spotlighted behind him. The crowd roared. “We’re going to fight like hell.”

Trump did more than just invite supporters to a rally. He also repeatedly shared a slickly produced video, titled “The Plot to Steal America,” that warned ominously of a Chinese communist scheme involving Biden, the Democrats, and the news media, and called for Trump supporters to mobilize. “We know that our rights don’t come from the government, but from God,” declared the narrator, an Ohio jewelry buyer formerly employed by the pro-Trump propaganda outlet the Epoch Times. “And we will fight to the death to protect those rights.” In a tweet the day after Christmas, Trump suggested that if the Democrats were in his position, the “Rigged & Stolen” presidential election would be considered “an act of war, and fight to the death.”

This drumbeat all built toward the cold gray morning in early January when thousands of fervent Trump supporters gathered for a “Save America” rally outside the White House. “We’re coming for you,” vowed Donald Trump Jr. from the stage, targeting members of Congress who didn’t support overturning the November results. “Let’s have trial by combat,” said Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, adding, “I’ll be darned if they’re going to take our free and fair vote.” “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” shouted Alabama congressman Mo Brooks. “Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives… Are you willing to do the same?”

The mob assault on Congress that left five people dead, scores injured, the Capitol building desecrated, and American democracy deeply shaken was the culmination of a campaign of terrorism. It was led by the president of the United States.

The description of Trump as a terrorist leader is neither metaphor nor hyperbole—it is the assessment of veteran national security experts. Trump, those experts say, adopted a method known as stochastic terrorism, a process of incitement where the instigator provokes extremist violence under the guise of plausible deniability. Although the exact location, timing, and source of the violence may not be predictable, its occurrence is all but inevitable. When pressed about the incitement, the instigator typically responds with equivocal denials and muted denunciations of violence, or claims to have been “joking,” as Trump and those speaking on his behalf routinely made.

Throughout his presidency, numerous violent actors directly invoked him and his rhetoric, including the mass shooter who murdered 22 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, whose writings echoed Trump’s talking point about a supposed migrant “invasion” of the United States. After Biden’s victory, extremists responding to Trump’s lies about fraud stalked and menaced public officials, election workers, and Trump’s Democratic and Republican critics. “Stop the Steal” rallies led to beatings, stabbings, and a shooting. When the president’s enraged backers roamed the Capitol hallways, some were hunting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and vowing to “hang Mike Pence” for refusing to interfere with the election certification.

“Stochastic” derives from the ancient Greek words stochastikos and stochazesthai, meaning “skillful in aiming” and “to target.” Among counterterrorism experts, the term historically was applied to the techniques used by ISIS and al-Qaeda as well as anti-abortion religious extremists, all of whom used inflammatory rhetoric to radicalize others to carry out horrific attacks. Trump did the previously unthinkable: He brought the method into the White House.

“The term ‘dog whistle’ is too benign here,” says Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Kayyem first brought wider attention to stochastic terrorism in 2018 when discussing Cesar Sayoc, a diehard Trump supporter who sent mail bombs to CNN and nearly a dozen Democratic figures, including Biden, Kamala Harris, and Barack Obama. “This is true incitement,” she says. “This is an understanding of how language is going to be interpreted for action.” Most media and political analysts hesitated to talk about Trump in such stark terms, but Kayyem concluded that Trump’s behavior had to be called out for what it was: The president, she told me in December, was “promoting terrorism.”

Please click on: Trump Promoting Terrorism

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.