Former Republican Congressmen Warn Donald Trump Inciting Violence


Two former congressional Republicans on Saturday blasted Donald Trump over a recent social media post he shared and accused him of stoking political violence.

The former president, who is now the presumptive 2024 GOP nominee for president, kickstarted another storm of controversy on Friday when he shared a post to his social media platform, Truth Social. The post included a video taken of a pick-up truck driving down a highway covered in various flags and decals espousing conservative political slogans and causes. Among the decals was an image on the tailgate of the vehicle which appeared to depict Trump’s presumptive general election opponent, President Joe Biden, hog-tied as if he had been taken captive.

The video sparked a new wave of accusations that Trump is attempting to encourage political violence against his opponents, including from Biden’s campaign.

“Trump is regularly inciting political violence and it’s time people take him seriously — just ask the Capitol police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6,” Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.

donald trump former republicans attack
Former President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on January 24, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Two former congressional Republicans on Saturday blasted Trump over a recent social media post he…

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On Saturday, two former congressional Republicans, Joe Walsh and Charlie Dent, appeared on CNN to discuss the social media post and condemn Trump’s rhetoric. Walsh previously represented Illinois’ 8th Congressional District from 2011 to 2013 and later emerged as an outspoken conservative critic of Trump. He launched an unsuccessful primary challenge against the former president in 2020 and formally left the Republican Party after suspending the campaign and now identifies as an independent. Dent previously represented Pennsylvania’s 15th District from 2005 to 2018, and endorsed Biden for president in 2020 and Democrat Josh Shapiro for his state’s gubernatorial race in 2022.

“This is one of those things where we can’t move past the headline: Donald Trump shared an image of the president of the United States tied in the back of a pick-up truck, bound and gagged,” Walsh said. “I mean, stop there…This is way beyond politics, this is an incitement to violence…None of this is surprising. Donald Trump, and this is a scary thing to say because he’s the Republican Party nominee…wants there to be violence in this country. He wanted it before January 6, he wanted what happened on January 6 to happen, he’s doing the same damn thing now, and it’s right, by the way, for the Biden administration to aggressively go after him.”

On January 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win. The riot erupted following repeated claims made by Trump that the election was stolen from him via widespread voter fraud. There is no evidence to support these claims. The Department of Justice (DOJ), meanwhile, indicted the former president last year for his alleged role in the insurrection, which he maintains his innocence.

“Well he’s never really been about expanding the base of support for his candidacy,” Dent said when asked how the Truth Social post would help Trump in the general election. “He only doubles down on the MAGA [Make America Great Again] element of his base. I mean, he hasn’t reached out to Nikki Haley people, he hasn’t done any of that. It’s clear to me he doesn’t seem to care about broadening the base.”

Dent further called Trump’s sharing of the image “disturbing” and said that it sends the message to his supporters that “it’s okay” to share such things. He noted that during his time in office, he would turn over any such examples of threats to the president to the proper authorities.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s team via email on Saturday afternoon for comment.

In a statement to various outlets, Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesman, claimed without evidence that Democrats had called for political violence against Republicans and did not explicitly say that sharing the image was not a call for violence.

“That picture was on the back of a pickup truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him,” the statement read.