Trump knows gender violence and white supremacy go hand in hand

The president’s ability to demonize women with impunity means the kind of threats experienced by Gretchen Whitmer are inevitable

Gretchen Whitmer hits out at Donald Trump as she denounces kidnap plot

On Thursday, at least five men were arrested after planning to kidnap, and potentially murder, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. For over a year the men plotted with a domestic terrorist group masquerading as so-called "militia men," formalizing their plot, running firearms training and combat drills, and attempting to make homemade explosives. They surveilled Whitmer's summer home, and planned to have her "stand trial" at a "secure location" in Wisconsin.

As shocking as it is to discover that radicalized would-be terrorists planned to kidnap and likely harm an elected official, this near-tragic event was an inevitability of the current president's intentional making. When the country allowed a man accused of sexually assaulting more than 20 women to continue to not only attack women from behind the presidential podium, but demonize them with impunity, violence against those women, as well as countless others, was bound to follow.

After Whitmer chose to enforce Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines and safety measures, predominately white, gun-carrying conservatives -- some of whom held signs adorned with swastikas and confederate flags -- stormed the Michigan State Capitol in opposition of her orders. In keeping with his obsessive need to stoke division, encourage violence, and embolden racists, the president of the United States tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" The same president who, just a week ago, told a white supremacist group to "stand back and stand by."

It would be easy, even convenient, to assume that the man moronic enough to stare at a solar eclipse simply doesn't know what he's doing -- that his ignorance is as boundless as his selfishness. But this president knows exactly what he is doing. He is not driven by stupidity, but by calculated chaos. He knows that white supremacy and gender-based violence go hand-in-hand. That they feed off and encourage one another. That they're two sides of the same coin.

And this president certainly knows that in propping up one you are refusing to condemn the other. That when you spend your time in the Oval Office convincing your dwindling base that when anyone who doesn't look and think exactly like them is allowed to govern, all they hold dear will be destroyed, people will feel compelled to act ... often violently.

Recent history has shown us that an often overlooked, telltale sign someone is prone to acts of mass violence is a pattern of domestic violence. This president has no problem with either. In May, he encouraged people to shoot people protesting systemic racism and police brutality –  three months later, a 17-year-old allegedly crossed state lines with an illegal weapon and shot three people, killing two. Surprise, surprise, the suspected shooter supported the president and attended at least one of his rallies. There's also video evidence of the suspect punching a teenage girl. The president went on to defend him.

The same way the president defended Rob Porter, who was accused of beating two of his ex wives.

The same way he sided with white supremacists and called them "fine people" after they marched on the streets of Charlottesville and killed Heather Heyer.

The same way he defended and endorsed Roy Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting underage girls.

The same way he celebrated depictions of physical violence against his former presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. And the same way he made a not-so-veiled threat against her life when he claimed she wanted to strip Americans of their second amendment rights. "She doesn't want guns, take their – let's see what happens to her," he said. "Take their guns away, okay? It'll be very dangerous."

That a group of wannabe G.I. Joes felt authorized by the president of the United States to orchestrate and carry out a federal crime against a sitting governor is the logical outcome of this president's dangerous, violent, racist rhetoric. It was never a question of if, but when. And now, the next question we must all ask ourselves is: when will this happen again?

Michigan was not the only state this president called on domestic terrorists to "save." On the same day, he also tweeted, "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" and "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!" In towns that hosted his rallies in 2016, hate crimes increased by a reported 226 percent. Since this president's election, harassment, bomb threats, and death threats targeting abortion providers have increased. The man who murdered 20 people in El Paso, Texas regurgitated this president's anti-immigration sentiments, claiming there's a “Hispanic invasion of Texas," in his manifesto.

We do know that this president is capable of killing over 210,000 Americans with his wilful inaction and blatant disregard for science and facts. What we do not know, however, is how many more he is capable of killing with his violent, sexist, racist rhetoric. Thankfully, for now at least, we can find small comfort in the knowledge that Whitmer won't be one of them. And that we're just 26 days away from having a chance to shut this president up.

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