In early March, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign unveiled a new yet unsurprisingly familiar tactic in their quest to secure votes in upcoming November elections — the Army for Trump.
The introduction and initial call to join the “Trump Army” came amidst rising domestic concerns surrounding Covid-19, and while Donald Trump’s taste for militarism has been no secret, the flex seemed much more hyperbolic a distant 3 months ago.
As the number of Trump’s horrendous militarized responses to sustained national uprisings for black liberation continue to mount, his aptly titled campaign has lost the novel quality of hyperbole many have applied to his rhetoric.
When national guard troops and federal officers used chemical agents and “less lethal” projectiles to clear a path for him through Lafayette Square for a photo op at St. John’s church, the nightmare of a militarized refusal of the peaceful transition of power should he lose in November became that much more fertile a possibility. The fact that he was accompanied by a member of the joint chiefs of staff and America’s highest ranking soldier, General Mark Milley, dressed in full combat fatigues only made the implications of Trump’s continual military adjacent posturing that much worse.
Four days ago, an email from the Trump campaign was shared on Twitter by the senior Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake. The email, promoting this newly formed “army”, ardently reminded supporters that they were “the President’s first line of defense when it comes to fighting off the liberal MOB [sic].” It then linked to a WinRed fundraising website where, for a $35 dollar donation, one could officially “enlist” in the Trump Army and receive an exclusive, camouflage “Keep America Great” hat.
This rhetoric is nothing new for DT. His willingness to insite and encourage extrajudicial violence as a skewed act of patriotism helped to get him elected and it is clear that he intends to use it, in increasingly menacing ways, to secure the same result in this election or, (and I hope, though doubt, this is a reach) violently sustain the result of the last.