After arraignment, Trump unleashes fascist tirade

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Bedminster, New Jersey. [AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey]

In language that combined threats of dictatorship and anti-communist hysteria, ex-President Donald Trump responded to his own arrest and arraignment Tuesday by declaring that he would arrest President Biden, his family and other political opponents if he returns to power.

Addressing an audience of fawning supporters at his golf course and country club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump spent his entire 32-minute speech complaining about his supposed persecution by the “deep state” and vowing revenge.

He pledged to appoint “a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden. And the entire Biden crime family.

“Today we witnessed the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country,” he began, going on to blame Biden and “a band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists” who “tried to destroy American democracy.” 

The attempt to portray Biden as a “Marxist” and “communist” might seem ludicrous, even bizarre, given that the longtime senator from Delaware is a right-wing Democratic politician, long known as a political hack for the pharmaceutical industry and corporations using Delaware as a nominal headquarters for the purposes of tax evasion.

The political purpose of such language, however, is to appeal to sections of the ruling class and neo-Nazi elements on the basis of fervid anti-communism.

So Trump said at one point, “If the communists get away with this, it won’t stop with me. They will not hesitate to ramp up their persecution of Christians, pro-life activists, parents attending school board meetings, and even future Republican candidates. … I am the only one that can save this nation.”

Trump said that case against him on illegal taking and withholding classified documents was a “very sad thing to watch. A corrupt sitting president had his top political opponent arrested on fake and fabricated charges of which he and numerous other presidents would be guilty, right in the middle of a presidential election in which he’s losing very badly.

“This is called election interference, yet another attempt to rig and steal a presidential election,” Trump said, again projecting his own crimes upon his political adversaries in the ruling elite. “More importantly, it’s a political persecution like something straight out of a fascist or communist nation. This day will go down in infamy.”

Virtually every statement Trump made in the course of his remarks was a distortion or an outright lie but one that was coherently presented and evidently rehearsed as part of his legal defense.

He claimed—and this has been echoed in much of the right-wing media—that the Presidential Records Act gives him unlimited authority to take with him any document in his possession at the time he leaves office. This turns the law upside down, since it was passed in 1978, in response to the crimes of Richard Nixon, to block the disgraced former president’s efforts to withhold documents from the National Archives that documented his criminal conduct during the Watergate scandal.

Some of the lies were trivial but nonetheless so blatant that they deserve mention. He claimed that the photographs of boxes taken from the White House tipped over in storage so that their contents cascaded onto the floor were staged by the FBI. Actually, his valet Walt Nauta, a co-defendant in the case, photographed the boxes eight months before the FBI raid, showing them tipped over, and sent them to higher-ranking Trump aides asking what he should do. The FBI then came into possession of these photos.

The media coverage of Trump’s arraignment and his subsequent diatribe has for the most part avoided any discussion of the central issue, however, which is Trump’s role in January 6 and in the ongoing preparations for fascist violence in the United States. There were, for example, reports that those in the audience included Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and former White House aide Kash Patel but no reference to their roles in the events leading up to and on January 6. There was little discussion of the ongoing threat of violence whipped up by Trump and his fascist supporters.

One exception to this blackout came in an interview on National Public Radio with Dartmouth Professor Jeff Sharlet, author of The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, on the meaning of a tweet posted by Representative Clay Higgins of Louisiana which reads: “President Trump said he has been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold; rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K. Know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”

Sharlet explained that Higgins was an avowed member of the Three Percenters, a fascist militia group similar to the Proud Boys and Oathkeepers. He said that “perimeter probe” and “1/50K” are military terms, the latter referring to the one-to-50,000 scale of military-grade maps. Other terms were taken from QAnon discussions and militia group jargon.

“Hold; rPOTUS has this” was evidently an instruction to the various fascist groups, passed on by Higgins, not to mobilize for the protest outside the Miami courthouse Tuesday. None of the fascist groups participated, and this command suggests that they were directed by Trump and his aides to stay away. It echoes Trump’s notorious call at a 2020 debate for the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

Sharlet added that “since that tweet, he [Higgins] said there are 3 percent solutions to the indictments.” This echoes the fascist threats of a “Second Amendment solution” to political issues.

The Biden administration has maintained an official silence on both the current charges against Trump and the prospect that the ex-president could face charges over January 6. The two cases are vastly different, as the WSWS has explained.

There is no democratic content to charging Trump over endangering the secrets of the national security apparatus. These are secrets kept from the American people in order to hide the military preparations and ongoing provocations of American imperialism. 

The Biden administration is acting as the representative of the military-intelligence apparatus when it brings charges against Trump under the Espionage Act. At the same time, it has slow-walked all investigations of the events of January 6, both in Congress and the Justice Department, in order to preserve its bipartisan alliance with the Republican Party to pursue the war against Russia in Ukraine, its principal focus.