Congressman, Bennie Thompson, meeting.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in a meeting. Photo credit: AFGE / Wikimedia (ATTRIBUTION 2.0 GENERIC)

You don’t need to encourage the MAGA movement to craft a narrative that Donald Trump is in mortal danger from Democrats. But that’s what Bennie Thompson foolishly did.

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The GOP’s Outrage-Industrial Complex does not need a lot to be cranked up to the limit. Most often, this happens because of some lie that Donald Trump tells (and which is then repeated by his allies), or Fox News scaring its conservative audience into believing that Americans are under constant threat from evil foreigners, Hunter Biden, and dudes playing women’s basketball.

Sometimes, however, there are actually good reasons for that outrage, and it would serve Democrats well not to pour gasoline on that fire.

Enter Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, who did an incredibly stupid thing a while back that will likely come back to haunt his party.

Because politics is now largely performative, and lawmakers are competing for attention, they often introduce legislation that has no chance of ever being enacted into law but that might result in the sponsor “going viral.”

You can identify many of these bills by their silly titles, which often don’t make sense but try to be clever… like Thompson’s Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable Former Protectees Act.

How is that clever? Well, the first letters of the words spell out DISaGRAtCaED. Take away those pesky lowercase letters and it becomes the DISGRACED Former Protectees Act.

The legislation, which will never see the light of day (and that very few Democrats would want to vote for), would terminate the Secret Service protection of individuals who have been convicted of felonies.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who this is meant for.

“Unfortunately, current law doesn’t anticipate how Secret Service protection would impact the felony prison sentence of a protectee — even a former President,” said Thompson when he introduced the legislation. “It is regrettable that it has come to this, but this previously unthought-of scenario could become our reality.”

That’s really stupid.

First of all, even if Trump were to be sentenced to prison (he won’t be), he wouldn’t serve his time in Cell Block B of Hard Time Penitentiary, and hope that some Aryan gang would take him in (a good bet) to provide him with protection in return for sexual favors.

It’s preposterous to even think about it, which makes the entire legislation idiotic and simply a dumb stunt.

Because it was introduced in April, when Trump’s trial was just getting started, nobody paid much attention to this bill… and rightfully so.

Since then, however, the former president has made up a ridiculous lie about being the target of an FBI assassination plot, and, of course, he was convicted, so a prison sentence is in the realm of possibilities (at least his MAGA supporters are led to believe so).

And, all of a sudden, depending on the eye of the beholder, Thompson’s performance artwork, i.e., the DISaGRAtCaED Former Protectees Act, looks like a scheme to have Trump shanked in the prison yard during a pick-up basketball game.

That’s obviously how the right-wing outrage machine chooses to view it.

“A House Democrat introduced legislation that would strip President Trump of his Secret Service protection,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). “The Left wants to expose Trump to physical harm. It’s outrageous that this is even a topic of discussion.”

For once, he isn’t even completely wrong… apart from that part about wanting to expose the former president to physical harm. After all, the introduction of this bill is not actually about Trump but rather about campaign donations and attention.

In Biggs’s words, the entire thing should not even be a topic of discussion, but, of course, the MAGA propaganda apparatus is just getting going.

And, because the truth is not salacious enough, a few lies will get sprinkled in for good measure.

This is the cue for demagogue-in-chief Tucker Carlson, who talked to Donald Trump Jr. about the bill. Calling Thompson a “monster,” he falsely claimed that the bill was introduced “within hours of the verdict.”

Both Carlson and Don Jr. agreed that this was a “death threat.”

Just to reiterate, the level of stupidity we have reached in US politics knows no bounds.

For good measure, Thompson’s governor, Tate Reeves (R-MS), also weighed in.

“Bennie Thompson has crossed a line that is embarrassing for our state – and dangerous for our country,” he tweeted. “His work to remove secret service protection from Donald Trump and leave him vulnerable (after a sham trial) begs the question … is it his goal to make it more likely that his political opponent is assassinated?”

The answer to that question is that Thompson’s goal was just wanting to go viral. And he will probably soon regret doing so when the real death threats from the former president’s supporters start piling up.

Because this is exactly the kind of thing the MAGA cult will seize on. The story that is being crafted is just true enough (because the bill exists), and it fits perfectly into the narrative of Trump being a Jesus-like figure who is being persecuted by evil enemies.

Add a few lies and incendiary rhetoric, like that from Carlson, and you get a great piece of propaganda that will rile up the MAGAverse.

Well played, Congressman.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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