Top Democrat Hakeem Jeffries warns Trump’s incendiary rhetoric might ‘get someone killed’
The top Democratic lawmaker in the House of Representatives has excoriated Donald Trump for his late-night warning on his Truth Social account claiming that “death and destruction” potentially awaits the US if he is criminally prosecuted.
The former president’s increasingly incendiary rhetoric is “reckless, reprehensible and irresponsible,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a press briefing on 24 March.
“It’s dangerous, and if he keeps it up, he’s going to get someone killed,” he said. “We’ve already seen the consequences of incitement from the former president. He is principally responsible for inciting the violent insurrection that happened on January 6, but clearly he has not learned his lesson.”
Mr Trump’s increasingly volatile remarks surrounding his potential criminal indictment and 2024 presidential campaign have accelerated in recent days after he predicted his own arrest, demanded his supporters protest on his behalf, and described the country as a “dying” and “third world” nation where “leftist thugs” are “killing and burning with no retribution”. His latest comments arrived before his rally in Waco, Texas, the first of his 2024 campaign.
He has repeatedly lashed out at New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is leading a criminal probe into the former president, describing the prosecutor as a “degenerate psychopath” and a “danger” to America.
Republican officials rushed to his defense after Mr Trump falsely announced on 18 March that he would be imminently arrested in a case stemming from hush money payment to an adult film star in 2016. GOP leaders of several House committees also demanded that Mr Bragg testify to Congress about his “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority”. An indictment has not been issued and Republicans have not reviewed evidence considered by the grand jury that is hearing the case.
“It’s also very unfortunate that the extreme MAGA Republicans in the House … continue to back President Trump and his reckless and his violent and his hateful and his disgusting rhetoric,” Mr Jeffries said on 24 March.
Mr Trump appeared to base his prediction of his imminent arrest on media reports about law enforcement preparations in advance of a potential indictment. His team followed up to clarify that he did not receive any indications from prosecutors that he had yet been charged or would be imminently arrested, but blamed “illegal leaks” that led to Mr Trump’s premature announcement. Mr Trump appeared to be the only source for such claims.
His comments fuelled a media firestorm and a rush of support from Republican officials and pundits who have accused the district attorney and other Democratic officials of leading a politically motivated investigation.
In a letter to the group of House Republicans who demanded Mr Bragg’s testimony, the district attorney’s office said Mr Trump “created a false expectation that he would be arrested” with his Truth Social post.
Republicans’ request marked an “unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution” that would interfere with the grand jury’s proceedings in violation of the law, according to the letter from the DA’s general counsel on 23 March.
“These confidentiality provisions exist to protect the interests of the various participants in the criminal process – the defendant, the witnesses, and members of the grand jury – as well as the integrity of the grand jury proceeding itself,” the letter stated.