Right-wing media this week responded to former President Donald Trump’s fourth criminal indictment — this time, for conspiring to subvert the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia — by arguing that the charges signal the end of American democracy and the start of a potential civil war.
- On August 14, Trump and 18 of his allies were indicted in the state of Georgia on charges of felony racketeering and conspiracy for their attempts to subvert the 2020 election. The 98-page indictment was handed down by a grand jury that reviewed evidence gathered during a two-and-a-half year investigation headed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
- Right-wing media have defended Trump using inflammatory rhetoric, accusing Democrats of sedition and totalitarianism. The extreme reactions from the right echo previous attempts by conservative media to shield the former president from accountability for his various charges.
Right-wing media bemoaned the indictment as an attack on democracy, a display of tyranny, and a constitutional crisis
- Right-wing podcaster Tim Pool responded to a post claiming that the “Fulton County DA went insane” with the comment “Civil war.” He later posted that “the only path forward is escalation. Either Trump is a cult leader trying to overthrow the US Or Democrats are engaged in seditious conspiracy to steal power.” [Twitter/X, 8/15/23, 8/15/23]
- On Hannity, Fox News contributor and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich decried the consequences of the indictment for the future of the country, comparing it to “the rise of secession and the Civil War.” He said, “I think what you're seeing tonight is one tree in a forest and I think we are drifting toward the greatest constitutional crisis since the 1850s and the rise of secession and the Civil War. I don't mean that as hyperbole.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/23]
- Article III Project founder Mike Davis argued on Steve Bannon’s War Room that “there's no way they can come up with this before the election if he’s going to get a fair trial.” He then claimed that “this is going to have a very chilling effect on democracy” because “you can't get more dangerous than telling people if you dare to question elections in America, you face going to prison for many, many years.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 8/15/23]
- Fox News host Mark Levin said indictments of Trump are “an attack on the people. Every indictment is an attack on our freedom, our ability to vote.” Levin claimed, “Every indictment is an attack on our freedom, our ability to vote. The Democrats don't care about voting. They care about winning at all costs. The Democrat Party wants to be the monopoly party in this country.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/15/23]
- Far-right troll Mike Cernovich claimed the indictment was evidence that Democrats are forming “a totalitarian regime.” He posted, “We are occupied by the same totalitarian regime that we used to read about. It’s here. They are emboldened. Evil never stops. It’s going to get worse.” [Twitter/X, 8/14/23]
- Levin similarly claimed that “Stalin would be proud. I'm sure Putin’s proud. I’m sure our enemies are celebrating.” He continued, “Congress is supposed to make all these final decisions. You're not supposed to criminalize the challenging of electors or dual electors or counting of votes and that sort of thing." [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/23]
- Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak decried the indictment as “political persecution of the opposition.” He posted that the indictment “recalls trials by totalitarian regimes” and that prosecutors are “doomed to fail.” [Twitter/X, 8/15/23]
- Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro posted, “Whatever you think of the Trump indictments, one thing is for certain: the glass has now been broken over and over again.” Shapiro added, “Political opponents can be targeted by legal enemies. Running for office now carries the legal risk of going to jail -- on all sides.” [Twitter/X, 8/15/23]
- Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk labeled Trump’s indictment as “an attempt to nullify the United States Constitution.” He also called the charges “psychological warfare.” [Salem Media Group, The Charlie Kirk Show, 8/15/23]
- Former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs labeled prosecutors as “Marxist” and claimed that they have “trampled President Trump's rights and the Constitution.” He then argued that “the Left is an evil force that must be held accountable.” [Twitter/X, 8/15/23]
- Failed Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake said on Steve Bannon’s War Room, “I think we’ll end up seeing another indictment,” before claiming that “they’ll eventually come for you.” She continued, “They’re going to go after grandmas and grandpas and people who were these alternate electors. This is political persecution of people who support America. … And if you don't think they'll eventually come for you, you are living in a fantasy land. They will eventually be coming after all of us.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 8/15/23]