Giving Permission to Political Violence

Steve Daniels, a candidate for chairman of the Republican Party of Arizona, spoils his ballot during the Republican Party of Arizona Statutory Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 28, 2022, by writing "Machines Are Fraud!" (Photo by Rebecca Noble for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Maricopa County is where you go to catch congenital syphilis and up on the latest shenanigans from the Trump cult.

About the latter: A mob shouting about “revolution” and such stormed a meeting of the board of supervisors in late February, with the elected county officials having to be escorted from the venue by security guards backed up by sheriff’s deputies. I probably don’t have to tell you this was a Trumpist mob, and not one full of would-be Jacobins, Antifa, Greta Thunberg followers, or “defund the police!” types. 

“I’m here today to put you on public notice and I’m here to inform you that you are not our elected officials,” one of the leaders, bearing the possible aptronym Michelle Klann, declared. “None of you have ever signed an oath of office to the Republic of Arizona, instead you’ve signed an oath of office to a foreign corporation, which means this is an act of insurrection. … Due to all the voter fraud, you have never been formally voted in. Acting as if you are authority over the people is a direct act of treason.” Klann is the founder of a pro-Trump organization, and there were the usual MAGA hats and Trumpist regalia in the mob. Klann really got cooking in her statement: “Your act of treason will be grounds for an immediate military tribunal. We do not need to tell you the penalties for treason.”

That’s quite a two-step, from “all the voter fraud” to firing squads.

If you close your eyes, you can see, and possibly smell, the scene. And to be clear: In referencing “penalties for treason,” Klann was talking about murdering those county officials. That’s how cowards threaten violence against their perceived enemies—not forthrightly and honestly, but with an “I’m just sayin’,” a moral fig leaf. It is contemptible.

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