It’s no secret that President Donald Trump has inflicted the scourge of Islamophobia on the United States — and world, for that matter. While some implications of his positions remain clear — for instance, Muslims remain in a precarious position under Trump — some lawyers in Kansas want us to believe that the rhetoric drove their clients to violence to the point of absolving them of at least some responsibility. In other words, not only are the targets of their violence victims — but the perpetrators are somehow victims too, apparently.
The men in question include Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein, and Gavin Wright, who as part of their involvement in a right wing militia, planned a bomb attack on a mosque and Muslim homes in Kansas for the day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
That plot was thwarted thanks to one of the men’s confidants alerting authorities, and now, their lawyers — including James Pratt, Michael Shultz, Kari Schmidt, and Tyler Emerson — want their clients to be granted leniency in their sentencing thanks to the supposed role of Trump’s rhetoric in driving their clients.
Pratt and Schultz assert:
‘The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful and contentious presidential elections in modern history, driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president.’
In other words — the lawyers (who, to be clear, are arguing for lesser and not completely erased sentences for their already criminally convicted clients) are jumping on the bandwagon of connecting the president’s rhetoric to violence and attempted violence and seeking to cast their clients as driven to act like they’re animals or something. They’re swinging obvious reality in a distant direction.
As Schmidt and Emerson noted in their own memo filed with the court, President Trump definitely continues to peddle Islamophobia even now. Although he first rose to national prominence in part thanks to singling out Latin American immigrants for claims of high and dangerous criminal activity, he hasn’t ignored other minorities. He went from claiming there needs to be a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States to spending months seeking to enact a Muslim ban as president.
More recently, he’s incorporated Islamophobia into his criticisms of Latin American immigrants, claiming without evidence that Middle Easterners — aka potential terrorists — are trying to infiltrate the U.S. via migrant “caravans.”
In other words, yes, the lawyers are accurate that Trump has driven violent rhetoric into the United States time and time again. Whether that means their clients should be considered some kind of mindless attack dogs, though, is a different story.
They’re hardly the first to seek to place direct blame for violence on the president above his supporters. Individuals who were violently removed from a Trump campaign rally in 2016 sought to sue the president over pushing his supporters to “get ’em out of here” at the time. An appeals court, though, threw out that lawsuit, arguing the president phrased his words just right in order to avoid directly advocating for violence — in that one, particular instance.
He’s continues to peddle violence through other means including praising Montana GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte for bodyslamming a reporter.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot