A Trump-themed flag is flown by supporters across the street from Trump Tower

A Trump-themed flag is flown by supporters across the street from Trump Tower before former U.S. President Donald Trump holds a press conference in New York City on May 31, 2024.

(Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

'I'll Take Up Arms If He Asks': Violent Supporters Rush to Trump After Guilty Verdict

"Trump retains an ironclad ability to mobilize more extreme supporters to action, both at the ballot box and through violence," warned one expert.

As supporters of Donald Trump flood right-wing platforms with threats against the jurors and judge following guilty verdicts Thursday in his criminal case regarding hush money payments, fears are growing that the influence the Republican presumptive presidential nominee has over his supporters will soon lead to violence.

"Until and unless he accepts the process, the extremist reaction to his legal troubles will be militant," Jacob Ware, a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, toldReuters.

The former president gave no sign of accepting the legal process Friday as he held a press conference at Trump Tower, repeating claims that the case had been "rigged."

Shortly after a New York jury announced its verdict in the case regarding documents that were falsified to cover up payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniel just before the 2016 election to keep her from publicizing an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump, right-wing websites like Gateway Pundit, Truth Social, and Patriots.Win saw an uptick in violent posts from users.

One commenter called for "someone in NY with nothing to lose" to "take care of" New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, while another on Gateway Pundit directed a threat at any and all opponents of Trump.

"Time to start capping some leftys," said the user. "This cannot be fixed by voting."

The reaction is a direct result, said Ware, of Trump's "insistence that he is being mistreated."

Trump responded to the verdict on Thursday by telling reporters he is "a very innocent man" and calling the trial—one of four criminal cases against him—"a disgrace." He is expected to appeal the verdict. On Friday morning, the Trump campaign announced a $35 million fundraising haul following the guilty verdict.

Some Trump supporters signaled they are waiting for instructions from the former president, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the November general election and is set to be formally nominated days after his scheduled sentencing in July.

On Patiots.win, one commenter called for 1 million armed Trump supporters to "go to Washington and hang everyone," while another said the former president "should already know he has an army willing to fight and die for him if he says the words...I'll take up arms if he asks."

While Republican lawmakers have not explicitly endorsed a violent reaction to the verdict that found Trump guilty of 34 felony counts, many have joined Trump in making clear that they don't accept the trial's outcome.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has said she would not endorse Trump in the 2024 election, said Manhattan District Attorney charged Trump for politically motivated reasons and falsely claimed that he campaigned on prosecuting the former president.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the "charges never should have been brought in the first place," while House Speaker Mike Johnson accused the Biden administration of the "weaponization of our justice system."

Progressives agreed with Trump on one point Friday, after he pledged that the hush money case is "long from over" and said that "the real verdict is going to be November 5" when U.S. voters go to the polls in the general election.

While celebrating that a jury of "everyday people" held the former president accountable and proved that "despite his worst efforts, Trump is not above the law," People's Action executive director Sulma Arias said Democrats "must beat him at the ballot box" to keep him from further eroding U.S. democracy, climate action, and other progressive values.

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