• Janeytzi Padilla

Radicalization Under Trump

On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob of President Trump supporters. “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” is what President Trump said to his supporters right before the Capitol was stormed. Following the attack on the Capitol, thousands of troops were deployed to protect major congressional buildings.

On June 28, 2020, Mark and Patricia McCloskey pulled guns out on BLM protestors. Patricia was holding a small handgun with her finger on the trigger and her husband was holding an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. They were charged with felonies but Republican Missouri Governor. Mike Parson had already pledged to pardon them if they were convicted. This event gave off the impression that pointing rifles at peaceful BLM protests is justified.

On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old MAGA supporter shot three people at a BLM protest in Kenosha, Washington. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were both shot and killed by Rittenhouse. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, was Rittenhouse's third victim who was shot as well but thankfully survived. Grosskreutz lost his bicep but thanks to reconstructive surgery, he was able to keep his arm. After protestors told law enforcement that Rittenhouse was the shooter they didn’t arrest him. They continued to walk him through the protest safely and guarded. After President Trump heard about this, he defended Rittenhouse and said that he was simply trying to get away from protestors.

These three events represent the culmination of years of radicalization under the Republican Party and President Trump. For those that don’t know, radicalization is when someone is so committed to their beliefs that they don’t believe it is possible for other people to have different beliefs. Many extreme Republicans have shown immense support for President Trump and his actions during his years in office. The idea that people are willing to get arrested and even killed in order to keep their so-called forever president in office is so astonishing that many people have even called the MAGA supporters a cult.

The Republican Party has oftentimes turned to violence when candidates from their party don't win. The storming of the Capitol is a prime example. President Trump himself has welcomed his supporters' aggression as healthy enthusiasm and proud patriots. If you represent the president's ideal American then it's easy to get away with committing a crime because in his eyes you're simply a proud American. He has also openly celebrated his supporters’ violence which leads them to believe that what they’ve done is justified. It’s okay to have the same beliefs as someone and support them but becoming an extremist and destroying properties along with the lives of hundreds of innocent people is not okay. After the storming of the Capitol, troops were deployed and had to sleep on hard wooden floors with no blankets, working around the clock because Trump supporters were upset that he didn’t get re-elected.

There have been so many occasions where the people we favor don't get elected or win competitions but we have common sense and don’t go around destroying private, federal property (i.e. the Democrats didn’t do this when Hillary Clinton lost to President Trump in 2016). If all the people who have been radicalized under President Trump and the Republican Party continued to riot at major congressional locations we might as well call them terrorists. People have the right to be upset and peacefully protest but not to ignite violence.

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