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GOP Congressman’s ‘scary as hell’ tweet seemingly calls for insurrection after Trump indictment

A bestselling author on the US militia movement said the congressman may have been calling on supporters to ‘prepare for war’

Graig Graziosi
Saturday 10 June 2023 01:13 BST
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Related video: Trump says he’s innocent as he is indicted on seven charges

GOP Representative Clay Higgins appeared to call for an insurrection following the announcement that Donald Trump would face a second set of indictments stemming from his possession of sensitive documents following his presidency.

On Thursday evening, Mr Trump announced on Truth Social that he would face indictment a second time — making him the first president ever to face federal charges — in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid by the FBI.

After the announcement, Mr Higgins, a GOP congressman from Louisiana and a former law enforcement officer, issued a strange tweet responding to the news.

"President Trump said he has 'been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM.' This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this," he wrote. "Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all."

Mr Higgins has previously referred to Mr Trump as "rPOTUS," and Joe Biden as "iPOTUS."

QuacksAnonymous, a researcher on Twitter who follows right-wing extremist spaces, told The Independent that the "rPOTUS" abbreviation was originally used by resistance Democrats when referring to Mr Trump — with "r" standing for Russian — but was later co-opted by conservatives who do not accept the results of the 2020 election, now using the "r" to stand for "real."

It is unclear what "iPOTUS" refers to with regard to Mr Biden, though it may mean "imposter" when considering the meaning behind "rPOTUS."

More troubling though is his comment regarding bridges.

Clay Higgins issued a cryptic tweet following Donald Trump’s second indictment that some experts interpreted as a call for insurrection (REUTERS)

The Washington Post's Will Sommer — who has authored a book on QAnon and previously hosted a podcast focused on esoteric right-wing grievance culture — was baffled by the tweet and asked for assistance parsing the language.

“Any ideas on what '1/50k know your bridges' means, besides literally knowing your local bridges? Not something I’ve encountered before,” Sommer asked on Twitter.

Jeff Sharlet, the author of The Undertow: Scenes From a Slow Civil War, a New York Times bestselling book about US militia movements, provided Sommer with an answer.

"Deep scary: 1/50 k refers to military scale maps & publicly available US Geological Survey maps of areas mostly surrounding military installations," he wrote. "This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing."

Mr Sharlet admitted that "I think this is scary as hell."

He also theorised that “rPOTUS” means “real POTUS” in Mr Higgins’ usage.

The alarming response prompted Twitter users to ask Mr Sharlet for his intepretation of Mr Higgins’ tweet.

“Prepare for war. ‘Know your bridges’ is militia speak for closing them down. County level insurrection,” Mr Sharlet replied.

Former New Jersey Democratic Representative Tom Malinkowski, who served at the same time as Mr Higgins, called the congressman "dangerous" and "unhinged" after the comment.

"Most of this guy's House GOP colleagues know he's dangerous and unhinged," Mr Malinkowski wrote. "But they tolerate him. That is all."

The Independent has reached out to Mr Higgins for comment.

This is the second time in as many months that Mr Higgins has made headlines. Last month he grabbed and shoved an activist who was shouting questions at Congresswoman Lauren Boebert and other GOP lawmakers during an outdoor press conference in Washington DC.

Mr Higgins was caught on video grabbing the man's shirt and forcefully shoving him backward. He then kept the man grappled until police arrived and separated the two.

He offered a response peppered with law enforcement lingo following the incident.

"Activist was a 103M. Threatening. He was escorted out and turned over to Capitol Police. Textbook," Mr Higgins wrote in a tweet.

"103M" is police radio code for a "mentally disturbed individual”.

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