ALICIA MENENDEZ (HOST): This is his first rally since his fourth indictment and he repeated a lot of his favorite lies. One of which is, “I am being indicted for you.” Incredibly dangerous. And then another one that caught my attention in the context of your and my conversations which is he called television networks evil. Right? I mean, so talk to me about both of those pieces. Both this idea of trying to pretend that he is being persecuted not for his own acts, but somehow for his supporters and this idea of calling institution's evil.
ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT & CEO, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA): So I think that it's really significant because — I hate when I have to decipher some of this stuff sometimes because I always feel like, “Wow. I sound more like Alex Jones, connecting the dots.” But there's actually a lot of significance to what he said. Because one of the things — you know, we talked about Huckabee and Palin before and their increased rhetoric of civil war and Philip is right. They're sort of pale reflections of what is actually happening in sort of the fever swamps. And so, when you actually look at what's happening in the fever swamps that rhetoric about civil war is very, very widespread. And one thing that has been layered on top of that over the past couple months is additional reasons, more religious rhetoric, more religious seasoning being peppered in. So now they've been talking about all the forces behind the sort of the stealing of the elections, Democrats, all that stuff that they've been saying for a while. Now they're saying they're demonic. Now they're using increasingly religious terms. And it's not just the more extreme figures that most of your audience and us have probably never heard about before, even people like Jesse Watters have started talking about the fact that these forces are demonic. It's all across Fox News, it's all across mainstream right-wing media. So one of the things that has been happening within the right-wing media audience is they've been hearing this terms, not just in political terms but now they're hearing it in religious terms. And so when Trump gets up there and uses language like evil — which he's attacked the media before, that's not something new — but when he starts to then tell a Jesus narrative, where he himself is suffering for them to sort of protect them, save them, they have an obligation to sort of rally. What he's starting to do is sort of paint himself in messianic terms and that is the connective tissue here, which is that they're providing additional justification for violence by making it religious, and Trump himself is tapping into that increasing cauldron of interest by painting himself more explicitly as a messianic figure. And we saw how damaging that was with the QAnon conspiracy. He's just fully embracing that messianic role now and that comment was sort of a signal of that.
MENENDEZ: Philip, I see you agreeing there, so I want to give you a chance to jump in.
PHILIP BUMP (THE WASHINGTON POST): Yeah, I mean the reason I was nodding with Angelo is just that Trump is totally consumed with QAnon-ism. It's absolutely, you know, it is essential to his 2024 bid.