Retribution is Trump’s mantra for his enemies

Full disclosure: I believe Donald Trump is corrupt, a compulsively lying deadbeat with open contempt for the law, rules and norms, and the most dangerous president in American history. I won’t be voting for him. Mr. Trump’s supporters, I suspect, love the fact that their president only respects the law and order that helps him. They love that he protects his risk-taking friends and humiliates his enemies, when he gets the chance actually killing them. Here is a recent example of a hit squad doing the vindictive president’s business, plucked from a news story updating the narrative of what seems to be the execution of a suspect by federal officers.

An armed right-wing counter-protester in Portland was killed during an altercation by someone identified with Antifa. Soon afterwards, on September 3, 2020, the suspect was rolled up on by federal marshals, who jumped out of their cars and opened fire, killing him on the spot.

Attorney General William P. Barr trumpeted the operation as a “significant accomplishment” that removed a “violent agitator.” The officers had opened fire, he said, when Mr. Reinoehl “attempted to escape arrest” and “produced a firearm” during the encounter.


It turns out that the “violent agitator” had not attempted to escape, unless you consider his staggering several steps after being shot, seconds before the fatal fusillade killed him, an escape attempt. Turns out that he had not produced a firearm, an unfired gun was found in his pocket after he was killed.

It now appears, from evidence presented in today’s New York Times (too discreet to say the words that follow) that he was executed by a rapidly moving firing squad of federal marshals sent to get the job done.

The U.S. Marshals Service declined to comment for this article, citing the pending investigation. The agency previously said that it had attempted to “peacefully arrest” Mr. Reinoehl and that he had threatened the lives of law enforcement officers.


The peaceful arrest apparently could not be effected in the few seconds between when the marshals sped up in their cars and when the marshals leaped out and began shooting the suspect. Extrajudicial killing in America. What the hell? Who needs a trial when the guy is guilty, a man who clearly hates America?

That this particular dead guy identified himself as antifa, (even if he attended the protests to protect peaceful protesters from intimidation by armed counter-protesters), plays beautifully into the Barr-Trump narrative: the country is in extreme danger from dangerous, violent left-wing radical criminals claiming America is a systemically racist society and trying to destroy it.

As the president framed it, with characteristic simplicity:

“This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him,” the president told Fox News. “And I will tell you something, that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.”


Just to underscore how fair and impartial the administration of justice is in Donald J. Trump’s America, compare the summary execution of this antifa suspect with the Trump administration’s treatment of killer Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse is the teenager who shot two protesters to death with an illegally possessed long gun, after his mother drove him across state lines to take up arms against those protesting racial injustice.

Meanwhile, at the Department of Homeland Security, federal law-enforcement officials were instructed last month to express sympathy for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Illinois resident who traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, with an (illegally possessed) AR-15 to defend law and order in that city — and ended up shooting two people dead. Specifically, in internal documents obtained by NBC News, DHS officials were advised to respond to any questions about Rittenhouse’s case by noting that Rittenhouse “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners” (curiously, the document simultaneously advises the officials to say that they could not comment on an ongoing investigation, before offering comments sympathetic to the subject of an ongoing investigation).

Officials were further counseled to describe Rittenhouse’s alleged actions as an object lesson in the importance of suppressing urban chaos. “This is also why we need to stop the violence in our cities,” the talking points read. “Chaotic and violent situations lead to chaotic, violent and tragic outcomes. Everyone needs law and order.”

To this point, DHS officials have largely ignored these messaging cues. But the department may provide Trump’s campaign with a more brutal form of aid later this month. As the Washington Post reported Tuesday:

The Trump administration is preparing an immigration enforcement blitz next month that would target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials who described a plan with public messaging that echoes the president’s law-and-order campaign rhetoric.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” could begin in California as soon as later this week. It would then expand to cities including Denver and Philadelphia, according to two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive government law enforcement plans … Two officials with knowledge of plans for the sanctuary op described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation, noting that the agency already concentrates on immigration violators with criminal records and routinely arrests them without much fanfare.


Fair is fair. To recap: money is speech, as the 5-4 Supreme Court recently declared. If you have more money, you deserve more freedom of speech, obviously. If you do something that looks bad but no specific law prevents the exact thing you’re doing, how is that wrong? If you have the votes not to be put on trial for misdeeds, who would not use them? If you can fire enemies and protect friends, why not? Losers who are angry about any of this — well, they get what they deserve if they ever become too angry. Fair is fair, unfair or not. That’s the way the rigged game is played, by winners!

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