Conservative journalist warns Trump supporters' desire for ‘actual bloodshed’ may 'be spreading’

Conservative journalist warns Trump supporters' desire for ‘actual bloodshed’ may 'be spreading’

Conservative journalist Charlie Sykes, one of President Donald Trump’s persistent critics on the right, has been expressing fears that violence and civil unrest will escalate during this year’s presidential election — and recent violence at demonstrations in Portland, Oregon and Kenosha, Wisconsin have not calmed those fears. Sykes, in an article published on the conservative website The Bulwark on Monday, writes that he hasn’t grown any less apprehensive and argues that Trump is only adding fuel to the flames.

“It’s 2020, and nothing seems likely to get mellow anytime soon,” Sykes warns. “Welcome to the Daily Countdown. We have 63 days to go until the election — and then, 78 days after that until Inauguration Day.”

Sykes notes that some of Biden’s conservative supporters, including Washington Post columnist George Will and CNN pundit/Bulwark contributor Amanda Carpenter, have urged him to condemn violence at protests as forcefully as possible — and Sykes doesn’t disagree with them. But Sykes also writes that another journalist, Matthew Dowd, had a valid point when, last week, he tweeted, “Why does the media pressure Biden to speak out against violent protests but doesn’t pressure Trump to speak out against police misconduct?”

Dowd, Sykes writes, “could have gone further. Why is there no pressure on Trump to condemn vigilantism? As he cheers on the caravans that descended on Portland over the weekend and his supporters rally behind the 17-year-old boy who killed two people in Kenosha, where is the concern on the right that ‘this is how Trump loses?’”

Sykes adds that another Biden-supporting conservative, Sarah Longwell, recently wrote, “People still expect Biden to do the right thing, which he has. No one expects that of Trump, but we should.”

Agreeing with Longwell, Sykes writes, “Where are the Republican voices urging Trump to categorically and unambiguously denounce all of the violence? Where is the media speculation that Trump’s visit to Kenosha could be his Nixon Goes to China Moment, where he condemns all the violence, declares that Black Lives Matter, then calls on the caravans, militias, and gun-toting vigilantes to stand down?”

Trump, according to Sykes, “continues to play the arsonist” during a period of tension and unrest and does so with the help of other Republicans — for example, Rep. Ken Buck, who chairs the Colorado Republican Party and was recently seen at a fundraiser wearing a t-shirt that said, “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out.”

“The right increasingly seems to relish the prospect of violence,” Sykes laments. “Hugh Hewitt’s colleague Kurt Schlichter has long trafficked in violent fantasies of a racial civil war, but the ardor for actual bloodshed seems to be spreading.”


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