Donald Trump, pointing
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

They’re not coming for you. They’re coming for him — with significantly more care and due process than is ordinarily accorded to criminal suspects.

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No, my MAGA friends, “they” are not “coming after you.” 

They’re coming after Donald J. Trump.

I just want to make that clear. Because you’re being told something else. And it’s a lie. 

They are coming after Trump because there is very strong reason to believe he has committed serious, nation-endangering crimes. At least a Florida grand jury was so persuaded, and that is how our legal process works. 

And to point out what I think should be obvious, this indictment is no political lark, no wing and a prayer. Special Counsel Jack Smith and the Department of Justice were not going to pursue an indictment — unless they had a very strong case.

Especially knowing they would be going to trial in Trump’s home base, most likely with a MAGAful jury in a courtroom presided over by a Trump-appointed and — based on her previous bizarre rulings — Trump-biased judge, Aileen Cannon.

So, despite Trump’s nonsensical rant to a crowd of 2,000 at the GOP state convention in Georgia on Saturday — “In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you. And I’m just standing in their way” — I repeat: They are not coming after you

You did not improperly retain possession of boxes and boxes of sensitive, classified, and top-secret government documents. 

You did not wave them in front of various unauthorized pals and acquaintances to show off your power and stroke your own ego. 

You didn’t move them and hide them, and basically say “come get me, copper,” resisting all official efforts to locate and recover them. 

And you certainly didn’t profit from your mega-stash in any way, or use it to exact personal vengeance or political retribution, while it may well turn out that those were indeed up there on his list of motives.

Perhaps you parked at an expired meter. Perhaps you sharpened the pencil a bit on last year’s taxes. Perhaps you haven’t been storing every one of your guns as required by whatever lax law most likely applies where you live.

Relax. They’re not coming after you. It is not the goal of the government — even the “deranged lunatic” (these are all Trump’s words) Jack Smith, the “sick nest of people” at the Department of Justice, or “enemy of the state” Joe Biden — to take away your guns, shut you up, or stop you from living your lives just as you did when Trump was president and have been since. Let alone put you in prison.

Don’t you get Trump’s game? Shared, merged victimhood: We’re all in it together, one persecuted tribe. And he’s the brave soul standing in front, in harm’s way, not because he’s done anything wrong or dangerous but because he is all of you. He “stands in the way” of the monsters who want to get at you, who are coming after you.

But they’re not. He has flouted the rule of law. Not you. You may have many beliefs in common with him. But you are not criminals. You are not charged. They are not coming after you.

I am repeating that line because line repetition seems to be your go-to way to take in information. Mantras. Punchlines. Memes. So, for every time Trump says “They are coming after you!” I feel it necessary to say “No, they’re not.” They’re coming after him — and with significantly more care and due process than is ordinarily accorded to criminal suspects.

We have been primed to hate and fear, forget all the things we have in common, and maybe even put our lives on the line for the stupid peg in the ground that Donald J. Trump has made of himself.

But I doubt you will see through Trump’s masterful rhetoric and demagoguery to the torrent of lies — the bold-faced lies, the slanty lies, the alternate “reality” he brazenly creates from synthetic whole cloth. 

Because he’s good. Good at what he does. Good at lying, good at deceiving, good at screwing people, all kinds of people, people like you. And maybe even good at bringing down a democracy just a few years shy of its 250th birthday.

Trump has already managed to divide our country so successfully that I no longer have any MAGA friends. And I suspect you probably have no friends like me. Not any more. 

We have been primed to hate and fear, forget all the things we have in common, and maybe even put our lives on the line for the stupid peg in the ground that Donald J. Trump has made of himself.

Trump’s Indictment: The Top Five Craziest Reactions

At the same Georgia event where he railed at the “viciousness” of his prosecutors and his prosecution, Kari Lake — the 2022 Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate with time on her hands because she just ran out of legal challenges to her November defeat — had something to say:

If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me, and 75 million Americans just like me. And most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.

Not a threat? Could’ve fooled me. Translation: “Before Trump goes to prison — before anyone ‘gets to’ him and imposes any accountability at all for his deeds — the better part of 75 million Americans are going to take up their guns and kill you.”

Thank you for that “public service announcement,” Kari, but rhetoric like that — if it is rhetoric — is how you start a civil war, a shooting war. One that I’m afraid some of you at least already seem to be itching for.

I very much doubt you can see it, my nonexistent MAGA friends, but that’s the only way out for him, the only way he saves his own skin. A shooting war. A civil war. Over him.

Because he knows they’re coming after him, not you. And he’s terrified. Terrified enough to sacrifice all of you, not to mention the rest of us. Including the vast number of Americans who are now just watching quietly and crossing their fingers that push doesn’t come to shove.

So ask yourselves, do you really want to fight that war? Do you really want to shoot me? Do you really want me to shoot you? Because, once that war starts, I don’t plan to just walk up to you unarmed and get shot. And I don’t plan to surrender either. This is my country too.

Jonathan D. Simon is a senior editor at WhoWhatWhy and author of CODE RED: Computerized Elections and the War on American Democracy.

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