At least two Republican members of Congress used alarmingly warlike rhetoric in response to the federal charges filed against Donald Trump on Thursday.
The former president, who faces a 37-count indictment on charges such as conspiracy to obstruct justice and withholding a document or record, is expected to appear in court Tuesday.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), the tough-talking former Louisiana law enforcement officer who recently manhandled an activist on camera, instructed his Twitter followers to “Buckle up” in preparation for that day, in a dispatch that sounded like battlefield orders.
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.
Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.
— Rep. Clay Higgins (@RepClayHiggins) June 9, 2023
Jeff Sharlet, a writer who also uses the platform, pointed out that “1/50K” refers to a common scale for military maps, and that “know your bridges” could be a reference to seizing key infrastructure.
Tom Malinowski, a former Democratic congressman from New Jersey, also tweeted about Higgins’ post. “Most of this guy’s House GOP colleagues know he’s dangerous and unhinged, but they tolerate him. That is all,” Malinowski said.
Another GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), was slightly more blunt.
“We have now reached a war phase,” he tweeted Friday. “Eye for an eye.”
We have now reached a war phase.
Eye for an eye.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) June 9, 2023
Matthew Tragesser, a spokesperson for Biggs, denied that the tweet amounted to a declaration of war.
“The Department of Justice is rogue and weaponized. The Republican Party has to step up and counter their efforts,” he told HuffPost in an email.
“The Republican Party has to prosecute people like Hunter and Joe Biden as the party now has a mountain of evidence against them,” he added, referring to GOP-led investigations into the president and his son.
Higgins’ office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Warlike rhetoric was widespread in the wake of Trump’s new indictment. Mark Levin, a Fox News host, bellowed in a monologue Thursday that the charges amounted to “war on Trump.”
“It is a war on the Republican Party. And it is a war on the republic,” he added, while also comparing the indictment to the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“June 8 is the day of insurrection, not Jan. 6. A weaponized U.S. attorney, a weaponized attorney general of the United States, released the full force of the United States government against a former president, the leading Republican nominee to take on the existing president,” Levin said, before making an apparent reference to Trump’s March indictment in New York.
“There are tens of millions of us. You have crossed the Rubicon twice, and we will never forgive you.”
In the anonymous depths of the internet, statements from Trump supporters were explicitly violent.
“It’s not gonna stop until bodies start stacking up,” one user reportedly wrote on The Donald, a pro-Trump message board.
“Perhaps it’s time for that Civil War that the damn DemoKKKrats have been trying to start for years now,” another wrote.