Donald Trump appeared to issue a threat to his opponents this week, warning in an interview with a right-wing news outlet that it would be “very bad” if his police and biker backers decided to “play it tougher” with opponents.
Trump was speaking to Breitbart‘s Matthew Boyle when he commented on the “toughness” of his opponents compared to his own backers, then warned what might happen if these groups decided to get tough with his opponents.
“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny,” Trump said. “I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough –until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
The interview was published on Monday, but Trump’s apparent warning drew viral interest on Thursday — after the quote was highlighted in a report from The Toronto Star.
The interview drew immediate criticism for Trump, as opponents say he appeared to be using the threat of violence in an attempt to silence political opponents. Trump has been previously criticized for openly encouraging violence, including a June of 2017 address to a group of police on Long Island in which he encouraged them to rough up suspects after they are arrested.
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?” Trump said as he acted out the motion of helping a suspect duck into a police car.
“Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody — don’t hit their head,” Trump continued, via The Washington Post. “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
Trump has also been blamed for using violent rhetoric that is often picked up by supporters on the fringes, which was the case last year when a Florida man sent items described as mail bombs to a number of Democrats — and media members who are frequently targeted by Trump on Twitter. Opponents have also called on Trump to stop referring to the press as the “enemy of the American people,” but he has continued to use this language.
Story: The president of the United States warns his opponents of the possibility of armed pushback, saying it would be "very bad" if his supporters in the military, police and a biker group were provoked into getting "tough": https://t.co/TQgFWeqjDz
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 14, 2019
In the Brietbart interview, Donald Trump also claimed that congressional Democrats are “nasty” with their investigations, and claimed that “Republicans never played this” when they were in control of Congress.