Trump is back to his old tricks.
Donald Trump is back to his 2016 strategy: demanding that anyone who opposes him be put in jail.
The man who just months ago decried that he was impeached without "due process" has long revved up his crowds by suggesting that his rivals should be imprisoned. In 2016, he egged on his supporters to chant "lock her up" at his campaign rallies about Hillary Clinton, who had been charged with no crime.
In recent days, Trump has revived the approach, urging the jailing of not just his 2016 rival but his 2020 opponent and other critics.
Joe Biden and his family
Appearing in Macon, Georgia, on Friday, Trump seized on unproven allegations against Hunter Biden to suggest that both he and former Vice President Joe Biden should be arrested.
"Lock them up. You should lock them up. Lock up the Bidens!" Trump urged. "Joe Biden is a corrupt politician, he's a corrupt politician, and the Biden family is a criminal enterprise."
After his victory in November 2016, Trump told "60 Minutes" that he did not intend to follow through with his campaign promises to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server during her tenure State Department. "I don't want to hurt them," he claimed. "They're good people."
But at the Georgia event on Friday, Trump also brought up his old grudge against her, belittling her as "Crooked Hillary" and saying she too should be in jail. "Lock up Hillary," he urged again.
A few weeks ago, a group of right-wing extremists were arrested in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. Trump, who had frequently attacked Whitmer for implementing COVID-19 safety restrictions in the state, used the moment to attack Whitmer again. "She wants to be a dictator in Michigan," Trump told Fox Business last week. "And the people can't stand her."
On Saturday, Trump appeared in Muskegon, Michigan, and suggested that Whitmer was the one who should go to prison: "You gotta get your governor to open up your state, okay? And get your schools open. Get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?"
As his fans chanted "Lock her up," Trump responded. "Yeah. Lock 'em all up."
Trump has also frequently demanded that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff should be arrested and charged with "treason" for paraphrasing a 2019 phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine at a committee hearing.
On Tuesday morning, Trump revived his attacks on the California Democrat.
"He's a sick man. He is so sick. We went through two and a half years of that, plus. This guy, he ought to be put away, or he ought to be, you know, something should happen with him," he told Fox News.
Trump has also made bogus criminal accusations against others this week.
He excited his supporters Saturday at a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, by attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
"In Minnesota they have Ilhan Omar, who hates our country, who's broken the law, but she's broken the law," he baselessly charged. "Let's see what happens, but she's broken the law, but she hates our country," he added as the crowd urged him to lock Omar up.
On Monday, Trump accused a Reuters correspondent of also being a "criminal."
"You know who's a criminal?" Trump taunted. "You're a criminal for not reporting [dirt on the Bidens]. You're a criminal for not reporting it!" He then added that the rest of the media was also criminal as he walked off.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.