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TRANSGRESSIVE: Trump reposts test Judge Merchan’s patience

TRANSGRESSIVE: Trump reposts test Judge Merchan’s patience

Trump Merchan

We’ve all seen how amplification works on social media. Somebody has a GoFundMe or a lost cat or a customer service complaint, and maybe five people have seen it, and then someone famous or influential reposts it — and the responses pour in from millions.

When it’s a repost from Donald Trump, though, the mass response isn’t a kid getting his wheelchair-accessible van funded or a whole town pitching in to bring Fluffy home. It’s much more sinister.

Trump’s attorneys have argued that his reposts of other folks’ commentary on witnesses and jurors isn’t a violation of his gag order, and Judge Juan Merchan seemed skeptical but hasn’t ruled so far. Over the weekend, though, Trump spent some time showing exactly why his actions are dangerous.

In particular, over Saturday night and Sunday morning, Trump reposted a lot of individuals who aren’t just expressing an opinion, but calling for action.

It started with a video clip of Stephen Miller calling for Joe Biden to be inundated with made-up criminal charges if the Supreme Court doesn’t rule that presidents have absolute immunity, and got worse from there. One post suggested:

“When Trump gets elected he needs to go after all these people partaking in election interference.”

By “election interference,” the individual meant, putting Trump on trial for alleged crimes. That’s certainly an opinion, but the concerning part comes when the man seeking that power reposts it.

[Screenshot via Donald Trump/TruthSocial]
Another opined that everyone involved in Trump’s trials “need[s] to go to jail,” and called for them to be “held accountable.”

Again, an individual may hold the opinion that any given person should be in jail, but the average individual doesn’t have the power to override the justice system to carry that out. Most individuals also don’t have the influence to inspire a vigilante to impose their twisted and violent view of accountability — but when Trump reposts this, he makes sure the notion reaches thousands — if not millions —  and specifically targets his devoted fans.

[Screenshot via Donald Trump/TruthSocial]
While most of these posts seem at least on the surface to propose that the punishments doled out to Trump’s perceived enemies should come through official routes, not all of them do.

One of Trump’s overnight reposts called for action by “Republicans” and “any patriotic Americans,” though it didn’t specify what sort of action that might be. The TruthSocial user wrote, and Trump reposted:

“This country is dying before our eyes and we understand that it needs to be stopped. The question is where are the Republicans????????? Are there any patriotic Americans amongst them?”

[Screenshot via Donald Trump/TruthSocial]
It’s anyone’s guess why Trump isn’t saying these things in his own words. He may think that he can dodge repercussions if he uses someone else’s statements (though it’s not clear that any of these sentiments directly violate his gag order) or he may just want to show that he’s receiving adulation and support.

Trump has been warned in previous gag order hearings that his verbal attacks inspire physical threats and harassment, though, and in terms of effect, there’s no sign that he creates less danger by reposting someone else’s attacks than by launching his own.

Perhaps this weekend’s reposts from Trump will convince Judge Mwerchan that he needs to make it perfectly clear that reposts violate the gag order just as much as anything that Trump composes himself.

For clarifications, comments, & typos, email:

Stephanie Bazzle
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here:

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