Donald Trump Shares Pastor’s Warning of Civil War if Impeached
By Jim Hayek September 30, 2019
President Donald Trump shared a warning from Pastor Robert Jeffress on Fox News of a new “civil war-like fracture” if Democrats removed him from office. Pastor Robert Jeffress said:
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t put down the Impeachment match. They know they couldn’t beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they’re increasingly aware of the fact that they won’t win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get rid of Donald J. Trump – And the Democrats don’t care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process. I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016 Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him. If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.
Jeffress’ warning sparked trends on Twitter on Monday, with the hashtag #CivilWar2 and #CivilWarSignup as some news outlets falsely accused the president himself of predicting a new civil war. Others on Twitter accused Trump of trying to incite a new civil war:
“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t put down the Impeachment match. They know they couldn’t beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they’re increasingly aware of the fact that they won’t win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
….rid of Donald J. Trump – And the Democrats don’t care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process. I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
….Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
So here we have a website, full of psychotic Treasonous Trumpsters, calling for the mass murder of their fellow US citizens in defense of this scumbag piece of shit Donald J Trump. Here are some highlights from the comment section of this story, along with the psychopaths name who posted the comment and their link to their Disqus profile:
Rose Weleski • 4 months ago https://disqus.com/by/roseweleski/
I agree! From what I am hearing that is exactly what will happen…of which I would gladly participate to protect this nation from the enemy within (the Democrat Party). They are the most vile, evil bunch I have ever seen. Our Lord would not approve of their agenda…..they only care about their pockets being filled with tax payer money! For the sake of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren we need to weed out the bad seeds of government and get back to the Constitutional freedom and rights we have been blessed with from the start of this nation. We are a nation “UNDER GOD” which the Dems would rather not have. Well, I would rather not have THEM lead us! So grateful for this President and his stand for our religious freedom and encouraging walking in our faith. TRUMP/PENCE 2020!!!
Matt Mare • 4 months ago https://disqus.com/by/disqus_54Mpo5nQ4N/
Well Buttercup you better listen hard and long to the Civil War rehtoric because Demonrats keep it up and soon there will be no more of them on the planet. We Americans are SICK of these Comie Rats destroying our country
Bill Cash • 4 months ago https://disqus.com/by/disqus_6eZPxpq9GA/
This wouldn’t be pretty folks. Those who haven’t been there have no idea. But I pass this on to congress. Having fake hearings and even impeachment doesn’t cover your butt. All of you who are screaming “bad president” had best rethink this thing. Once it starts it can’t be stopped. And I predict when it starts it will start with the sleazeballs in Washington DC. Even most of the military, active and retired, are against this sleaze. So if you think the military will be there to protect you are seriously mistaken.
Captainah • 4 months ago https://disqus.com/by/captainah/
The problem arises due to the fact that the democrats don’t listen to what the people are saying they just do whatever it is they want to do. Unfortunately for them it has already been stated by several military special forces veterans including a retired navy seal that if the democrats try to remove our president by any illegal or unconstitutional means there will be a retaliation and they will hunt them down and eliminate their threat. Now the dems due to their ignorance will be facing an armed populace of about 100,000,000 Americans in a fight they won’t win and it would serve them right because we all know what happens when you sell your soul to the devil. The dems are all demons anyway you can see it in their eyes and the only reason they want trump out of office is because they don’t want the 8 plus years of corruption to be exposed. They know they are all going to swing whether it be by trump or by we the people. God bless us all and God bless America
Allen • 4 months ago https://disqus.com/by/disqus_eneSUejMnL/
And I for one agree. While I sure do not like the idea of a war since I have children, but with Democrats around I am not sure what type of life they will have if people like Pelosi, Schiff, Schumer, Nadler, Occasional-Cortex, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, Jayapal, Hirono, ANY Clinton, Biden, Obama and ANY and ALL Democrats and their constituents are in charge. F Democrats. I just want to know how will we know who sides with whom? I do know, any Antifa member wearing a mask should get the first shots.
Rick Wiles: There Will Be “Violence in America” If Donald Trump Is Impeached
On his “TruNews” broadcast Wednesday, conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite Rick Wiles warned that Donald Trump‘s impeachment would be met with violence.
Wiles, who said in August that he needed $100 million to launch a global media platform and claimed just this month that Hillary Clinton looks good because she’s drinking a lot of blood, now says that Trump supporters who “know how to fight” will hunt down Democratic lawmakers and kill them if their Savior is impeached.
“If they take him out, there is going to be violence in America,” he said. “There are people in this country — veterans, cowboys, mountain men, guys that know how to fight — and they’re going to make a decision that the people that did this to Donald Trump are not going to get away with this and they’re going to hunt them down.”
Apparently those people will do anything to defend a racist misogynist who rains hell on immigrants, sabotages health care for Americans, and allows refugees to die. All because of Jesus.
“I’m serious,” he said. “If these people in Washington think that they are going to get away with it, it’s not going to happen. The Trump supporters are going to hunt them down. It’s going to happen and this country is going to be plunged into darkness and they brought it upon themselves because they won’t back off.”
So if the investigation of Trump’s illegal actions leads to any kind of punishment, then law-and-order Trump supporters will responds with… acts of violence? It’s not exactly a sign of sanity when your response to an investigation is to violently rebel. And yet Wiles says it’s Democrats who have “waged war” on Trump voters, so naturally, those voters have to respond with weapons.
“They are going to go on a rampage and you’re not going to be able to put it back in the bottle,” Wiles said.
“Once the blood starts flowing, it’s nearly impossible to stop,” added co-host Edward Szall.
Perhaps these guys need to be investigated, not the members of Congress asking questions to understand what Trump did behind closed doors.
Franklin Graham Threatens America With Civil War If Trump Is Impeached
Franklin Graham Threatens America With Civil War
Graham told The Christian Post:
I think what is going on in Washington has something to do with [my call to prayer]. It has bothered me and it has been a burden on my heart because this president is being attacked more than any president in modern history; attacked by the press more than Abraham Lincoln.
So he is the president of the United States. You had two years of investigation that came up with nothing. Now the media and his opponents in Washington are doing everything they can to destroy him. What we need to remember is that he is the president. That doesn’t mean that he is a perfect person. He is flawed like all of us. He has made plenty of mistakes but he is the leader of this nation. We have got huge problems in front of us.
If the president was brought down for whatever reason, it could lead to a civil war. There are millions of people out there that voted for President Trump that are behind him that are angry and they are mad. We are just living in a very dangerous territory, and we need God’s help.
Trump Supporters Are Threatening America
Graham has already called for a national day of prayer for Trump because he thinks that Jesus can help Trump avoid impeachment. Jesus turned water into wine, but it is uncertain if even Christ himself could fix the level of corruption and stupid in this White House.
Franklin Graham denies endorsing Donald Trump, but he pulled out of the far-right’s favorite threats. In hiding behind the Bible mob style Graham warned that if anything happens to Trump the country gets it.
This is the same threat that Trump supporters have been throwing out there for years, and nothing ever happens. Trump supporters, just like their president, appear to be all talk and no action. The threats aren’t going to work. The nation is ready to call Graham’s bluff and get rid of Trump.
Evangelicals Promise Civil War if Trump is Impeached
Anyone familiar with the Christian religion should be aware that world domination is one of its ultimate goals. Any Christian who argues otherwise is either violating the Ninth Commandment (lying) or they never opened their mythological holy book. Jesus did command his disciples to “go make disciples of all the nations,” and if they reject Jesus, he will return and send them to everlasting Hell. If they are already dead, he’ll resurrect them and send them to Hell. World domination is a Christian thing the clergy hardly ever preaches.
America’s bastardized Christians, the vaunted “religious right, conservative Christians, and evangelical dominionists” have dreamt of the day they hold dominion over all aspects of Americans’ lives. They are the “Christian Reconstructionist” (Dominionist) movement and they have made slow but steady progress since George W. Bush’s administration.
They are a relentless bunch who have worked tirelessly to undermine anything they believe is contrary to their distorted “unbiblical” worldview; such as spending thirty-plus years attempting to abolish abortion rights. They are a patient group that has caused a great deal of damage by incrementally undermining equal and civil rights in America with Republican assistance. They have been successful despite they have always been in the minority.
Now, although their numbers are dwindling, they see a veritable evangelical “god-king” in Donald Trump and they are terrified at the growing calls for his removal from the place he has no right visiting, much less occupying. No doubt even superstitious evangelicals have seen the reporting that a Trump impeachment is gaining support and nothing to dismiss out of hand.
Add to the evangelicals’ concern that their “messiah” in the Oval Office faces the prospect of being impeached, now they are worried he will be forced to resign to save the GOP from further humiliation. The thought of losing their god-king, and the free rein he provides the religious right to advance the Dominionists’ cause is not just disconcerting, it is a reason to send “an ominous warning;” impeach Trump and prepare for a violent civil war led by conservative Christians.
With all the “impeachment” talk, there is renewed interest in a warning a month or so ago from scandal-ridden televangelist Jim Bakker. Bakker echoed the sentiment of many in the alt-right movement, and the white evangelical right, that America desperately needs a second civil war to get America on the “religious right” track.
According to Bakker, conservative Christians are concerned they will be permanently “shut up” without their “god-king,” and will “come out of the shadows” to start a civil war if Trump is impeached, or “forced” to resign. Last year Bakker warned his evangelical followers that the government would soon start “mowing down Christians for praying.” Evangelical clergy have been prepping their adherents for a final confrontation for ages, and people like Bakker see Trump’s removal as the catalyst for a violent confrontation.
The bible-clutching televangelist was speaking on his moneymaking “The Jim Bakker Show” when the topic of a Trump impeachment in the daily news came up for discussion. Bakker didn’t do much “discussing,” he just boldly declared:
“I predict if it [impeachment] happens there will be a Civil War in the US. The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we’re going to be shut up permanently if we’re not careful. God says that faith without works is death, we have to do things.”
Bakker’s prediction was reiterated by one of Trump’s advisors, Roger Stone, who just last week warned that if Congress dares impeach the corrupt con man, there will be a violent, armed response from Trump’s devoted base. Stone said:
“You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician that votes for it will endanger their own life. I’m not advocating violence, but I’m predicting it.”
According to MediaMatters, another one of Trump’s advisors, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said “he was told by Donald Trump that he ‘really liked’ [Roger] Stone’s comment.” Jones claims to have repeated communications with Trump on “certain topics” and boasts regularly about his influence over the corrupt narcissist. No doubt Jones is being truthful because some of the things Trump repeats could only have come from a lunatic conspiracy theorist like Jones.
There is no question that the white evangelical right are staunch supporters of the corrupt racist Trump. He garnered 81 percent of the evangelical white vote; more than any other Republican presidential candidate since poll watchers have been keeping track. It is frightening, but a fair percentage of that 81 percent will react violently if their god-king is removed, no matter the process or circumstances. Those religious maniacs, and they are maniacs, believe that biblical god sent Trump to be his mouthpiece and that he was sent as a 21st Century “messiah.”
This evangelical promise of a civil war joins a growing series of second civil war predictions by “far-right media figures” who want nothing less than a bloodbath. It is not entirely clear who the conservative Christians are going to wage war on, or if they believe their god will intervene Old Testament style and snuff out everyone but the faithful. That is, of course, what the Christian bible says, but even if someone believes the mythos they cannot possibly believe that biblical god will support another American civil war if Trump is removed.
Admittedly, it is comical to think that any sane human being ever takes “predictions” and “warnings” from the likes of a televangelist seriously, but the raging animus among the religious right for anyone failing to conform to their worldview is at a fevered pitch. Add to that long-simmering rage, the thought that a legislative body might have the audacity to remove the white evangelicals’ “voice of god,” and the idea of armed violence from the religious right is as real as it is distressing.
Christians are, as alleged “followers of Christ,” supposed to seek peace and love their fellow man, but the white evangelicals are not Christians by any stretch of the imagination. Those bastardized Christians are armed, fanatical and have been indoctrinated to believe they are in an existential fight for survival. Now that they see an opportunity to seize control of the nation with their “god-king” in the White House, it is likely they will go “Old Testament” biblical on the country if their messiah is impeached.
Trump’s ‘Civil War’ Quote Tweet Is Actually Grounds for Impeachment, Says Harvard Law Professor
resident Donald Trump’s recent tweet quoting a longtime evangelical pastor who warned of a “Civil War” if Democrats seriously pursue removing him from office could actually be grounds for impeachment, one Harvard Law professor said.
“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,” Trump tweeted on Sunday night.
The tweet was a quote from Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who gave the comment during an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend. Trump added his own parenthetical aside to Jeffress’ quote, in which the president asserted that Congress won’t be successful in their impeachment efforts.
The president’s tweet was immediately met with backlash, and Harvard Law professor John Coates argued that the social media post itself is an “independent basis” for lawmakers to remove him from the White House.
“This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment – a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power,” Coates wrote on Twitter on Monday.
The House of Representatives officially launched an impeachment inquiry last week amid reports that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The communication between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was first revealed in a whistleblower complaint to the inspector general of the intelligence community. The complaint detailed concerns that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment – a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power. https://t.co/JL9XzClGXf— John Coatesâš½ï¸ (@jciv) September 30, 2019
The whistleblower also implicated Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr in the Ukraine debacle. Giuliani was described as a “central figure” in the situation.
Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry, it’s been reported by several news outlets that at least 218 lawmakers in the House (the exact number of votes needed to impeach Trump in the chamber) support moving forward with impeachment. At least 217 Democrats and independent Representative Justin Amash have favored the inquiry.
Democrats say they intend to move quickly on impeachment, but so far have only opened an inquiry into the matter. The House will decide after the investigation whether to actually impeach the president. If the chamber votes for impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate would then decide whether to remove Trump from office or exonerate him.
Historian Kevin Kruse slammed Trump for suggesting in his “Civil War” tweet that only Democrats are responsible for impeachment. Kruse, a Princeton University professor, noted that in order to successfully remove the president there needs to be a significant amount of Republicans backing impeachment.
“Trump can only be removed through impeachment if two-thirds of the Senate votes to remove him. To do that, 20 Republicans would need to join the 45 Democrats and 2 Independents,” Kruse wrote. “Removal would be bipartisan. Framing it as some kind of civil war isn’t just dangerous. It’s dumb.”
Armed Militias Are Taking Trump’s Civil War Tweets Seriously
Over the weekend, the president sent a tweet that seemed to warn of civil war if he were to be impeached and removed from office:
….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
Although the president was quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress’s comments on Fox News, he was adopting them as his own.
It might seem tempting to dismiss this language as of a piece with President Trump’s typical Twitter rhetoric. But it is worth paying particular attention to this tweet—because among the people who read it were militia groups enthusiastic about exactly what Trump portended. And while no violence has yet resulted from the president’s tweet, it would be foolish to underestimate the power of Trump’s comments to call rogue militias to action, particularly if there is an impeachment and he continues to use this rhetoric to fan the flames. In the days after his civil war tweet, he went on to use similarly incendiary language, referring to impeachment proceedings as a “COUP.”
Consider the Oath Keepers group, a far-right armed militia. Calling on its 24,000 Twitter followers to read the president’s whole tweet thread, the Oath Keepers account posted:
Here’s the money quote from that thread. This is the truth. This is where we are. We ARE on the verge of a HOT civil war. Like in 1859. That’s where we are. And the Right has ZERO trust or respect for anything the left is doing. We see THEM as illegitimate too.@StewartRhodesOK https://t.co/DjB8TY0vCo
— Oath Keepers (@Oathkeepers) September 30, 2019
Before this tweet, the Oath Keepers account tweeted that, under the U.S. Constitution, “the militia (that’s us) can be called forth ‘to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.’ … “All he has to do is call us up. We WILL answer the call.” Other Oath Keeper tweets also hint at violence: One states that “their favorite rifle is the AR 15.”
According to the Oath Keepers’s webpage, the organization is “a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” while declaring that they “will not obey unconstitutional orders.” The Anti-Defamation League, by contrast, describes the group as “an anti-government right-wing fringe organization” whose members have appeared “as self-appointed armed guards” at various places around the country, in defiance of what they deem to be unconstitutional government action. Last month, the group sought “security volunteers” from their membership and “other capable patriots” to escort Trump supporters attending a New Mexico rally “to protect them from potential leftist violence.” And last year, the Oath Keepers announced its “Spartan Training Group program,” with the goal of “form[ing] training groups in as many states as possible” to create “a pool of trained, organized volunteers who will be able to serve as the local militia under the command of a patriotic governor loyal to the Constitution, or if called upon by President Trump to serve the nation” (emphasis in original).
The Oath Keepers are far from the only militia group that vocally supports deploying potential force in aid of the president. In November 2018, after Trump pledged to send up to 15,000 U.S. troops to the border to deal with the approaching caravan of Central American migrants, the militia group known as “The Minuteman Project” published an “URGENT CALL FOR TEXAS BORDER OBSERVATION DUTY” to cover the 2,000-mile border from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. According to U.S. Army documents obtained by Newsweek at the time, the military expressed its concern internally about the presence of unauthorized militias along the border, warning that protests occurring at points of entry historically had been peaceful, “unless extreme right or left groups attend.” The Minuteman Project’s co-founder, Jim Gilchrist, cautioned potential volunteers that their adversaries were “US-based PROPAGANDA organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, People without Borders” and many more groups like them. He further warned members to “use extreme caution when confronted by mainstream media” because “they are not your friends.”
Earlier this year, after Trump’s reelection campaign repeatedly ran ads quoting Trump’s references to an “invasion” on the southern border, another group—the United Constitutional Patriots—set up camp at the New Mexico/Mexico border. Without any legal authorization, this group assumed the duty of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop and detain migrants, all while heavily armed and dressed in military fatigues. In March and April 2019, a spokesperson for the group, Jim Benvie, regularly posted livestream videos on Facebook showing militia members chasing and capturing migrants while armed with assault rifles, and detaining them until they could be turned over to U.S. officials. In other posts, the United Constitutional Patriots described themselves as combatants in a “war” raging along the border due to migrants’ “invasion” of the country and actively sought to recruit people with military or law enforcement experience to join them. One such recruit, upon observing migrants while on “patrol” at the border, reportedly grabbed his AR-15 and asked his fellow militia member, “Why are we just apprehending them and not lining them up and shooting them?” In April, after the group’s “national commander” was arrested on unrelated charges and the Union Pacific Railroad ordered the group off of its property, significant media attention exposed the militia’s activities and it reconstituted itself as the Guardian Patriots, decamped to private land with the owners’ consent, and closed its public Facebook account.
Both of these armed militias took action at least in part in response to Trump’s rhetoric about the need to secure the southern border. Now that the president has invoked the idea of civil war, there is a risk that armed groups will take heed of this language too, whenever the president suggests that it is time.
Federal criminal law prohibits “rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof,” including incitement or assistance to such rebellion or insurrection. It also prohibits conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government, levy war against it or oppose its authority by force. Based on the organization’s declared mission, there’s little doubt that the Oath Keepers would view any impeachment action by congress as “unconstitutional” and therefore not to be obeyed. Although the group’s current tweets come close to calling for rebellion or insurrection should that happen, there’s been no indication that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating. Are the militias drawing up plans for possible civil war, for example? Are they training? Are they stockpiling weapons? These are things that law enforcement should be investigating, whether under federal law or state law.
Although it is widely believed that the Second Amendment protects the right to form private militias, it does no such thing. The Supreme Court made this clear in its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, explicitly reaffirming its own 1886 holding that “the Second Amendment … does not prevent the prohibition of private paramilitary organizations.” Indeed, they are prohibited by state constitutional provisions or statutes in all 50 states.
The constitutions of 48 states include provisions that require the military to be at all times subordinate to the civil authority. That means that private, unregulated and unauthorized militias—operating wholly outside of the civilian governmental authority and public accountability—are prohibited by state law. There is good reason for this. As prominent historian and scholar A.E. Dick Howard wrote in 1974 in “Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia,” the Virginia constitution’s ban on private militias “ensures the right of all citizens … to live free from the fear of an alien soldiery commanded by men who are not responsible to law and the political process.”
Notably, Virginia was the first state to adopt its own constitution, known then as a Declaration of Rights, in June 1776. According to the operative language in Virginia’s constitution, illustrative of the language used in 47 other state constitutions, “[I]n all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” Last year, in a successful lawsuit against the private militias that usurped legitimate law enforcement authority during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a state judge ruled that, based on this “strict subordination” clause in Virginia’s constitution, “[t]here appears to be no place or authority for private armies or militia apart from the civil authorities and not subject to and regulated by the federal, state, or local authorities.” The case resulted in court orders prohibiting the defendant militias from returning to Charlottesville as part of coordinated, armed groups during rallies, protests, demonstrations and marches.
Other state law criminal provisions also prohibit various types of militia activity. Twenty-eight states prohibit groups of people from associating together as a military unit or parading or drilling together in public with firearms. (It was one of these statutes that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 1886 against a Second Amendment challenge in Presser v. Illinois.) Similarly, 25 states prohibit assembling together to teach, demonstrate, train or practice with firearms, explosives or “techniques” capable of causing injury or death, knowing and intending to further a civil disorder. And another state criminal statute, found in some variation in 12 states (and in the U.S. Code), prohibits the false assumption of the duties of a law enforcement or peace officer or the unauthorized wearing of military uniforms or close imitations thereof. The United Constitutional Patriots’s spokesperson, Jim Benvie, is currently charged in federal court with violations of the federal statute based on his false assumption of the duties of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. And this summer, the Virginia attorney general issued an opinion that heavily armed militias, dressed in fatigues and other military accessories, acting in a coordinated fashion and patrolling a line of citizens waiting to engage with their elected legislators before a special session on gun safety legislation, violate Virginia’s prohibition on the false assumption of law enforcement functions.
The Oath Keepers and other militia organizations are in violation of some of these laws right now. Their existence as private paramilitary units in states with “strict subordination” clauses is prohibited, as it is in states with statutes that prohibit associating together as a military unit or company. Training, instructing or practicing in paramilitary techniques for use in a “civil war” or other uprising is also currently banned in many states. And to the extent the armed militias are showing up in public places asserting authority they don’t have, they are violating state and federal laws criminalizing the false assumption of law enforcement duties.
Some observers may say that the tweets of both the president and the Oath Keepers are simply hyperbole. But the militia movement has shown that it will take action based on the president’s statements. His “civil war” comments were phrased conditionally—dependent on “the Democrats” attempting to remove him from office. State officials and law enforcement, however, do not have to wait for that condition to be fulfilled—or for the president to post new tweets that militias may interpret as calling them to arms—to tackle the potential threat posed by militias. Governors may issue cease and desist orders based on their state constitutions, law enforcement may initiate investigations based on federal and state criminal statutes, and the public may report instances of current law-breaking by militia members. Authorities would not sit idly by while foreign forces prepare for potential violence against other Americans, and they should not sit idly by while rogue private armies do the same.
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