Molly Butler / Media Matters | Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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Trump’s diehard allies are endorsing his retribution rhetoric against political rivals and the media

  • Former President Donald Trump is increasingly making revenge a cornerstone of his 2024 reelection campaign, and many of his allies are following suit. Right-wing figures are promising to help Trump “take out” and “go after” rivals if he wins a second term. 

  • Leading up to the 2024 election, Trump and his allies have been pledging to go after his opposition if reelected

    • Trump has been promising political and legal retribution if reelected, claiming that he will have “no choice” but to lock up opponents. The former president also wants to go after the media, migrants, “wokeness,” and has called to dramatically expand the powers of the president’s office while limiting the reach of federal agencies. [The Guardian, 8/30/23; The Wall Street Journal, 12/2/23; The New York Times, 7/17/23]
    • In December, Trump leaned into the idea of being a “dictator for one day,” promising to close the border and drill land. Trump made the remarks during a ​​speech to the New York Young Republicans Club, and NYYRC President Gavin Max followed up by asserting Trump would “turn the tables on these actual crooks and lock them up for a change.” [Vanity Fair, 12/10/23]
    • Trump allies have repeatedly backed up his pledge of presidential retribution, saying that “this is just not rhetoric.” War Room podcast host and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon affirmed that the former president and his loyalists are “absolutely dead serious” about holding accountable and prosecuting the “deep staters.” The Trump campaign has attempted to distance itself from remarks like this, releasing a statement that “unless a message is coming directly from President Trump or an authorized member of his campaign team, no aspect of future presidential staffing or policy announcements should be deemed official.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 12/6/23; The Washington Post, 12/8/23]
  • Trump’s allies are claiming that he will go after his opposition if reelected in 2024; some are offering to aid him in that pursuit

    • Bannon suggested that “the ones that got to be broken the most are these elite billionaires. The ones who are trying to run Trump into prison, because it’s all backed by these guys. … They’re all underwriting the Democratic Party.” He also stated, “They’re going to be the supplicants. They’re the ones that have leeched off you. They’re the ones that have destroyed you. … We can turf these people out and they have to be broken.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 12/5/23]
    • Right-wing judicial activist Mike Davis responded to a post from Newsmax quoting Trump’s intentions to jail political opponents, writing, “Dear President Trump: Your wish is my command.” Davis also seemingly promoted himself as acting attorney general for Trump’s potential second term. [Twitter/X, 11/21/23]
    • On The Benny Show, Davis threatened to unleash a “three-week reign of terror” on Trump’s behalf if he was designated acting attorney general. Davis claimed that he would “fire as many people as I can” while also going after the prosecutors working in various Trump criminal cases. [YouTube, The Benny Show, 9/24/23]
    • Dismissing the “bogus cases against President Trump all over the country,” Davis further declared that “it’s time for Democrats to get a healthy dose of their own medicine.” Davis wrote that “President Trump cannot turn the other cheek.” [Twitter/X, 11/20/23]
    • Davis also appeared on Bannon’s War Room and stated that he “would love to put [MSNBC journalist] Mehdi Hasan in a gulag.” He also downplayed his previous offers to lead a “reign of terror” as Trump’s acting attorney general, claiming that his comments were simply a “troll” and Democrats “are actually doing” fascism. [Real America's Voice, War Room, 12/11/23]
    • Former Trump Defense Department official Kash Patel stated that if Trump gets a second term, “we're going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections.” Patel continued, “We're going to come after you, whether it's criminal or civilly, we'll figure that out.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 12/5/23]
    • Patel also told host Glenn Beck that “we've also got to take out the fake news media machine. And that's the bigger challenge, in my opinion, than taking out just the deep state government gangsters themselves.” He added, “I think we can do it. Yes, it's going to be a brutal year, but if we don't do it and we don't win in 2024, then that's it, game over.” [BlazeTV, The Glenn Beck Program, 9/26/23]
    • Daily Wire host Matt Walsh stated that “my problem with Trump’s ‘dictator’ comment is that he’s only promising to do it on day one.” He also said that if Trump being a dictator means “just ruthlessly enacting policies and crushing enemies, then he needs to be a dictator in that sense every day of his term.” [The Daily Wire, The Matt Walsh Show, 12/6/23]