Donald Trump Will Cost American Lives

For those who aren't aware, a fervent supporter of Donald Trump was arrested yesterday after mailing pipe bombs to more than a dozen Democratic activists and politicians, as well as to CNN.

The attempted bombings come after years of sustained divisive rhetoric demonizing liberals and encouraging violence by Trump; the extreme right wing; and, increasingly, mainstream elements of the right such as “Fox News.” Observers have long worried that such a saturation of divisive rhetoric would yield violence, and as these attempted bombings unfolded, their concerns were validated in terrifying form.

Each of the targets of this attempted bombing spree was also a regular target of Donald Trump’s, who takes every opportunity in speeches and on Twitter to build the narrative that they are evil or dangerous. He vilifies them in slashing partisan terms designed to whip up rage and fear among his base of Republican supporters, in the hopes of channeling that fury into support at the ballot box.

This is Donald Trump’s MO: inciting division to polarize his base for political gain. At moments of national tragedy, such as Hurricanes Maria and Harvey and the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville, we’ve repeatedly watched in real time as Trump’s vicious political instincts lead him not to call the nation together, but to foment further anger and hatred.

That instinct was on full display today in North Carolina, where Trump used a rally of his most ardent supporters to accuse the media of being anti-Trump in reporting on an act of terrorism committed by one of his supporters. His line, “The media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement,” was classic Trump: taking advantage of national strife to score a political point against a perceived enemy.

“Fox News” summed up this rally with the ludicrous headline “Call For Unity.” By apparently seizing on a few scripted lines of speech that contradicted the entire thrust and effect of Trump’s response to the attempted bombings, Fox knowingly turned a blind eye to the months of toxic rhetoric that preceded this dangerous ordeal, further legitimizing that very rhetoric.

My purpose here is not to suggest that all Trump supporters are violent terrorists, but rather to illustrate that the vile rhetoric being used by power-hungry politicians like Donald Trump and the reinforcement of that rhetoric by partisan media outlets like “Fox News” has dangerous consequences. If this continues, I believe that innocent Americans will die.

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