The media is breathlessly reporting on the possibility of widespread political violence around the country ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, all of it being linked to President Donald Trump after last week’s protest at the U.S. Capitol — never mind that what took place there was out of character for Republican voters.
With the nation’s capital locked up tight as a drum, the reports claim small groups set on violence will go after softer targets closer to home, which is to suggest there are roving armies of Trump supporters set on causing mayhem.
Trump will depart the White House on Tuesday and is expected to go to his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago, and the FBI told law enforcement in the state to be prepared for possible unrest and protests throughout the state on Sunday, according to Fox News.
Citing the Miami Herald, the network reported that the FBI said it has not received specific intelligence about demonstrations in the capital city Tallahassee, but shared security information to help brace for protests.
The FBI is tracking an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” including calls for armed protests leading up to next week's presidential inauguration, Director Chris Wray said Thursday. https://t.co/feHhB1Ik4M
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) January 15, 2021
“As we do in the normal course of business, we are gathering information to identify any potential threats and are sharing that information with our partners,” the bureau said in a statement to the newspaper.
“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” the release said. “Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a strong proponent of law and order, has been clear that Florida will not tolerate violence and will be prepared for any problems.
“If anything is disorderly, we are going to act very quickly,” DeSantis said at a recent press conference. “I don’t care why you are doing it. You are not doing it here. If there is any type of disorder we will have the reinforcements there.”
Fox News recently reported an internal FBI memo which warned of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capital cities ahead of Biden’s inauguration — a federal law enforcement source told the network the memo warned the protests could be staged before, on, and after Inauguration Day.
Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said officials were not aware of any threats against the state Capitol, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“We do not have any specific intelligence,” Revell said. “But the national narrative is going around, and we are preparing and planning for that as well. We have no specifics for Tallahassee.”
Since the election of Trump, the FBI’s reputation has taken a beating.
Under the tutelage of former bureau director James Comey and his lieutenant, deputy director Andrew McCabe — both were fired by Trump — the bureau engaged in spying on Trump, both as a candidate and as president-elect, using the discredited Russian dossier paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign as justification.
Vote for your country. pic.twitter.com/8OtM4cAyfk
— James Comey (@Comey) November 3, 2020
Comey, who tried to personally trap President-elect Trump in a one-on-one meeting, has since become a willing advocate for the Democratic Party, as he urged the nation ahead of the election to vote for Biden.
McCabe, now a CNN contributor, responded to President Trump’s message Tuesday calling for peace ahead of the inauguration to call him a “master at coded language,” saying the message was actually a “dog whistle” calling on his supporters “to fight.”
While it remains to be seen if there will be additional violence, the media is fixated on the possibility, likely seeing it as a nail in the coffin of populist Republicans seeking to rebuild the party in Trump’s image.
One thing that remains certain, if there is unrest, the same media will exercise little intellectual curiosity over whether Antifa-linked instigators are involved.
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