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Trump was convicted on 34 counts. Here's how right-wing media melted down.

Update (6/5/24): This article has been updated to include additional examples

After Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted on felony charges, right-wing media rushed to defend him by threatening retribution, claiming the nation is under threat from “evil forces,” accusing Democrats of “election interference” and “legal assassination,” and suggesting that Trump’s status as a felon will ingratiate him with Black voters.

  • Donald Trump was convicted of felony crimes

    • On May 30, Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges were related to hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which were intended to prevent Daniels’ claims that she had an affair with Trump from becoming public during the 2016 presidential election. [The Associated Press, 5/31/24]
  • Right-wing media threatened retribution against political opponents for Trump’s conviction

    • Donald Trump Jr. argued that “we don't have a choice” and that the GOP will have to prosecute Trump critics as retribution. Trump Jr. was responding to a quote from actor Rob Schneider, who said that Republicans “will have to retaliate against Democrats when they regain power.” [Rumble, Triggered with Donald Trump Jr., 5/30/24]
    • Former Fox host Megyn Kelly suggested that “the only way to save the Republic” was to give Democrats like President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “a taste of their own medicine” by prosecuting them for unspecified crimes. Kelly continued, “They're the wolves with the bloody piece of meat in their mouths. That doesn't stop the wolf from coming back for more. The only thing that will stop him is if he loses a limb of his own.” [SiriusXM, The Megyn Kelly Show, 5/30/24
    • Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon echoed Kelly’s response, saying on his show, “Old Testament. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. It’s got to be part of it.” Bannon’s guest, former Trump official Jeffrey Clark, called for “brave district attorneys” to “go after the entire federal state apparatus that the Democrats have put together to go after President Trump and to destroy our rule of law and our republic.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 5/31/24
    • Newsmax host and Trump ally Sebastian Gorka threatened that star witness Michael Cohen and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would be “going to jail” if Trump wins the 2024 election. He added a warning, saying, “The people who have committed the crimes will pay the price.” [Newsmax, 5/30/24
    • Frequent Fox News guest and Right on Crime executive director Brett Tolman: “The game has changed. Republicans— take the gloves off. Hit back and hard.” [Twitter/X, 5/30/24]
    • Fox guest John Yoo: “If Republicans don't retaliate in the same way, the Democrats are just going to keep doing it to every candidate.” Yoo: “Now that this precedent has been set, Republican DAs are going to have to go after Democratic presidents in order to try to repair this violation of norms, because otherwise this has succeeded.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 5/31/24]
    • On his radio show, Fox host Mark Levin called for Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to be indicted for “illegally interfering” with the 2020 presidential election. Levin: “We got these two boys dead to rights. … Brother, you’re in the crosshairs now. Of your own making.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 5/31/24
    • On Jesse Watters Primetime, OutKick founder Clay Travis said: “We’re in a real war. Legal warfare is afoot and it’s time to return fire.” Travis continued saying, “Democrats need to fear what Republican prosecutors will do.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 5/31/24]
  • Right-wing media personalities and guests used Trump’s conviction to claim the country is under threat

    • Fox host Jeanine Pirro claimed America had “gone over a cliff,” called the verdict “warfare,” and spoke of the country being “born of revolution.” On The Five, Pirro complained that “lawfare is far too soft. It’s far too benign. This is warfare,” adding that while “we are a country that was born of revolution,” she hopes “it’s only at the ballot box.” [Fox News, The Five, 5/30/24, 5/30/24, 5/30/24]
    • Former Fox host Tucker Carlson reacted to the conviction by writing: “Import the Third World, become the Third World. That’s what we just saw.” Carlson added: “This won’t stop Trump. He’ll win the election if he’s not killed first. But it does mark the end of the fairest justice system in the world. Anyone who defends this verdict is a danger to you and your family.” [Twitter/X, 5/30/24
    • While reacting to the verdict on his War Room podcast, Steve Bannon told his audience that “if you believe America is a gift,” then “you’ve got to fight for this.” “They’re trying to destroy you,” Bannon added, “They don't want you to have a voice and for you not to have a voice, they have to destroy the instrument of MAGA.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 5/30/24]
    • Newsmax host Lidia Curanaj opened the 10 o’clock hour of Newsmax by saying, “The America we know and love has perished.” Curanaj also said that Trump’s conviction marks “the end of what was once the fairest justice system in the world.” [Newsmax, 5/30/24
    • Fox host Jesse Watters claimed that we are “wounded as a country” and promised that Americans would “vanquish the evil forces that are destroying this republic.” [Fox News, The Five, 5/30/24]
    • The Federalist co-founder and CEO Sean Davis posted a mock epitaph for America on X (formerly Twitter) and accused Democrats of organizing “a Soviet show trial with a rigged jury to throw their top political opponent in prison in 2024.” He also cited a Frederick Douglass quote asserting that the “cartridge box” and self-defense were essential to preserving American liberty. [Twitter/X, 5/30/24, 5/30/24]
    • Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy said, “I fear for what happens to us,” while claiming the U.S. has gone from a “constitutional republic to a banana republic.” McCarthy added: “All that has to happen is that the rule of law stops being the foundation of a flourishing democratic society and becomes a political weapon. It is normalized as a political weapon.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 5/31/24]
    • While talking to Newsmax host Eric Bolling, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich called the former president’s conviction “the greatest constitutional crisis in American history since the Civil War.” Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on political corruption charges, had his sentence commuted by Trump in 2020. [Newsmax, Eric Bolling: The Balance, 5/30/24; NBC News, 2/18/20]
    • Fox host Brian Kilmeade said, “This looked like something Vladimir Putin is doing to Gershkovich over in Moscow.” Kilmeade was referring to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has spent over a year in Russian prison on pre-trial detention for espionage charges, which he denies. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 5/31/24; CNN, 3/29/24]
  • Some right-wing figures invoked assassination and witch hunt imagery while discussing the guilty verdict

    • Right-wing political operative and conservative radio host Roger Stone compared the verdict to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Stone: “This is like when Kennedy was shot — this is a moment that every American is going to remember." [Infowars, War Room with Owen Shroyer, 5/30/24]
    • Newsmax host Greg Kelly also invoked the Kennedy assassination while reacting to Trump’s conviction. Kelly argued that Americans must “pray for President Trump, not only for his victory, but for his safety” because Biden is “firing up the deep state” and “they took out Kennedy.” [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 5/30/24]
    • Turning Point USA co-founder Charlie Kirk compared the verdict to 9/11, calling it “direct election interference,” and suggested it was “an attempted judicial and legal assassination” of Trump. Kirk: “Some of you in the audience remember where you were when you heard the news that they killed JFK. You remember where you were on 9/11. This is an equally as significant day.” [Rumble, ThoughtCrime, 5/30/24
    • Fox contributor Tammy Bruce compared Trump’s conviction to the Salem witch trials. Bruce: “In Salem, Massachusetts, they also had a sweep of guilty verdicts of all the witches. You know, it’s hard to not just find everyone guilty. In the Old World, with kangaroo courts and star chambers, they too had a sweep of guilty verdicts, everyone was always guilty.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 5/31/24]
  • Others accused the Biden administration and Democrats of engaging in “the real election interference”

    • Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro claimed that Biden allies brought Trump to court on “spurious charges … specifically, so that the entire media can then claim that he's a convicted felon, and so can Joe Biden.” Shapiro claimed this was evidence of “incipient tyranny” and asked, if Trump lost the election while under house arrest or in jail, how “will anyone believe that that's a legitimate representation of the will of the American people?” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 5/30/24]
    • On Fox’s Sean Hannity’s radio show, Heritage Foundation vice president and former Trump administration official Roger Severino claimed that “we have crossed the Rubicon,” adding, “It will be hard to recover because this is what election interference looks like.” Severino said the verdict was aimed at “trying to deprive the American people of voting back into office a previous president.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 5/30/24]
    • On X, Donald Trump Jr. wrote: “Sentencing is 4 days before the GOP Convention...They're not even trying to hide the ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!!” [Twitter/X, 5/30/2024]
    • Fox Business host Stuart Varney falsely claimed the conviction “was Biden's idea” and therefore amounted to “election interference.” Varney said, “I think this whole trial was Biden's idea, it was his strategy: bottle him up, get him guilty, put him in prison. And, I think it's backfiring. But I do blame — put significant, initial blame — I put blame on Biden.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 5/31/24]
    • Fox host Laura Ingraham alleged that the verdict was “the real election interference.” Ingraham suggested that the trial “was always about getting Trump off the trail.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 5/30/24]
    • Fox host Mark Levin argued Democrats have “completely destroyed our electoral system,” claiming that “the Constitution of the United States was shredded” by the verdict against Trump in “a Stalinist-like show trial.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/31/24
    • Fox guest Andrew Cherkasky touted “stolen election” and “warfare” rhetoric in response to the conviction. Cherkasky: “I think the nightmare scenario we all have to look at is when you think of a stolen election, and you think of all of the warfare that's going to come from the Democrats now that he has been convicted of this.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/31/24]
    • Fox contributor Charlie Hurt said if “people do not stop Democrats in the election from winning by doing this, they will never run another election for all of history any other way but like this.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/30/24
    • Fox host Jeanine Pirro said Democrats made this happen because Trump was winning with women and minorities in the polls. Pirro: “The truth is they had to do this because Donald Trump was winning with women, with minorities, with the underserved.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 5/30/24]
  • Right-wing media also claimed that Trump’s conviction will help him garner support from Black voters

    • On Jesse Watters Primetime, Rod Blagojevich asserted that Black voters will “rise up” and vote for Trump after he was convicted of 34 felony charges. Blagojevich: “​​I think there’s one group of Democratic constituencies that’s going to rise up because they recognize it. I’m talking about the black community. That for too long in America has been on the wrong side of weaponized prosecutors targeting them. They see this for what it is.” [The Daily Caller, 5/31/24]
    • Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier posted to X that “Black America is waking up following this injustice,” adding, “I guarantee Trump has doubled his support.” [Twitter/X, 5/31/24]
    • On Fox, Eric Trump claimed that Black voters now see his father as “the victim,” saying, “Look at the African American vote, right. That’s swinging over to Donald Trump in spades.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 6/2/24]
    • Sebastian Gorka: “Are we seeing the persecutions judicially of President Trump break the Democrat stronghold on the Black and Hispanic communities?” His guest, Newsmax host Greg Kelly, responded that “there is something to that” because of “widespread distrust of the law enforcement and judicial system.” [Newsmax, The Gorka Reality Check, 6/2/24]
  • Right-wing media claimed the conviction will help Trump win the election or boost his campaign

    • Steve Bannon declared that the way to “save our constitutional republic” is “by action,” adding, “We can turn this easily into a Trump landslide if we’re focused.” Bannon also told his audience, “I hope you’re seething mad. I want you to be seething mad. … I want you to channel that seething to something positive. It’s called victory. … The only way this is sorted out is to win.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 5/30/24]
    • Fox News late night host Greg Gutfeld claimed the verdict “will not only solidify the base, it will radicalize it. It will infuriate the independents and the undecideds.” He also claimed the verdict “adds to the persuasive power” by proving Trump’s “point,” that “if you are a threat to power, they will try to destroy you.” [Fox News, The Five, 5/30/24]
    • Right-wing podcaster and MAGA troll Jack Posobiec posted, “Trump just won the election.” [Truth Social, 5/30/24]
    • Radio show host and former Fox News host Dan Bongino posted on Truth Social: “Laugh now motherfuckers, you’ll be crying soon.” He addressed “Liberal Commie Fuckwads,” writing, “We’ll be drinking your delicious tears in November. [Truth Social, 5/30/24]
    • Popular right-wing influencer Catturd wrote that “maybe people in this country will finally wake up now to how evil the Democrat party communists are” and that “Trump will win a Reagan type landslide.” [Truth Social, 5/30/24