Trump amplifies calls to jail top elected officials, invokes military tribunals

July 2, 2024

Former President Donald Trump over the weekend escalated his vows to prosecute his political opponentscirculating posts on his social media website invoking “televised military tribunals” and calling for the jailing of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, and former Vice President Mike Pence, among other high-profile politicians, reports The New York Times.

Trump, using his account on Truth Social on Sunday, June 30, promoted two posts from other users of the site that called for the jailing of his perceived political enemies.

One post that he circulated on Sunday singled out Liz Cheney—the former Wyoming congresswoman who is a Republican critic of Trump’s—and called for her to be prosecuted by a type of military court reserved for enemy combatants and war criminals.

“Elizabeth Lynne Cheney is guilty of treason,” the post said. “Retruth if you want televised military tribunals.”

A separate post included photos of 15 former and current elected officials that said, in all-capital letters, “they should be going to jail on Monday; not Steve Bannon!” Those officials included Biden, Harris, Pence, Schumer, and McConnell—the top leaders in the Senate—and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker.

The list in the second post also had members of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, including Cheney and the former Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger, another Republican, and the Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff, Jamie Raskin, Pete Aguilar, Zoe Lofgren; and Bennie Thompson, who chaired the committee.

In a statement, the Trump campaign did not address Trump’s posts, instead repeating allegations of misconduct by members of the committee, saying “Liz Cheney and the sham January 6th committee banned key witnesses, shielded important evidence, and destroyed documents” related to their investigation.

The posts, which were amplified by Trump’s Truth Social account on Sunday afternoon, were still listed on his profile on Monday afternoon.

The Biden campaign denounced the posts in a statement, saying that Trump “is doubling down on threats to our democracy,” adding that “the Supreme Court has now paved the way for him to do exactly what he is saying he will if he wins.”

Cheney responded with her own social media post on Sunday evening, saying “Donald—This is the type of thing that demonstrates yet again that you are not a stable adult—and are not fit for office.”

Trump has repeatedly called for the imprisonment of his political opponents, often singling out members of the January 6 committee. But the two posts that Trump amplified on Sunday particularly stand out.

One proposed jailing an extensive list of high-ranking officials, including Trump’s former vice president, the top Republican in the Senate ,and the current president and vice president. The other invoked the dictatorial imagery of a televised military tribunal, which would strip Cheney of her right to due process similar to the military courts used to prosecute terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay

Research contact: @nytimes