You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Juan Williams: A bad moon on the rise

The Hill logo The Hill 6/22/2020 Juan Williams, opinion contributor
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Juan Williams: A bad moon on the rise © Getty Images Juan Williams: A bad moon on the rise

In the immortal words of Creedence Clearwater Revival, "I see a bad moon rising."

My fear comes from watching a scary alliance taking shape on the far-right.

It begins with President Trump, who is falling farther and farther behind former Vice President Biden, his presumptive Democratic opponent. Biden led Trump by 12 points in a Fox News poll last week.

Feeling political heat, Trump is resorting to dividing and scaring people while posing as the strong man needed to satisfy what he calls the American public's "demand [for] law and order."

Just last week, Facebook took down several Trump campaign ads because they featured a Nazi symbol.

My anxiety goes even higher as white militants, some waving Trump flags, are becoming more public and more violent to people marching for racial justice.

"Federal prosecutors have charged various supporters of a right-wing movement called the 'boogaloo bois,' with crimes related to plotting to firebomb a U.S. Forest Service facility, preparing to use explosives at a peaceful demonstration and killing a security officer at a federal court-house," The Washington Post reported on its front page last week.

And then there are the rising threats from police unions.

In the face of rising calls for police reform, the police unions are now politically aligned with Trump. And he is standing as their defender.

In a clear slap at people protesting police brutality, Trump said last week the real problem is that the "police have not been treated fairly."

The police unions are using the same tactic, attacking protesters, in the words of the president of Minneapolis Federation of Police, as a "terrorist movement."

This rising alliance of Trump, white militants and angry police unions fits with Trump's long expressed desire to have men with guns on his side.

"I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump - I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough - until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad," Trump famously told Breitbart last year.

Keep in mind this is not an empty threat.

The Trump administration used a mix of several federal police agencies - armed with tear gas and smoke bombs - to disrupt a peaceful protest in Lafayette Square this month, all so Trump could take a campaign-style picture in front of a nearby church.

That brutal use of police power could well be a preview of more ugly conflict around the country as protests, political rallies, conventions and the November election approach.

That's why several polls show the country to be on edge.

In fact, last week 74 percent of Americans, including 63 percent of Republicans, said the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to an AP-NORC poll. A Monmouth poll also had 74 percent saying the country is going the wrong way.

And 64 percent of adults, including 37 percent of Republicans, according to the AP poll, said Trump has made the U.S. "much or somewhat more divided."

Trump's most divisive tactic at the moment is to malign Americans protesting police violence.

He exaggerates violence at protests, then blames left-wing groups even as federal officials have identified right-wing, white militants as behind much of the trouble.

Even before the protests, his administration pulled back from deals between the federal government and several big cities to halt aggressive police tactics.

Attorney General Bill Barr raised eyebrows late last year when he said if Americans fail to show proper respect to police "they might find themselves without the police protection they need."

Barr's position is way out of step with American public opinion. The AP poll found that more than 70 percent of white Americans say police violence against the public is either very serious or moderately serious.

Even libertarian-conservative billionaire Charles Koch's network of political activists see the need for police reform.

The Koch network is working to reform "qualified immunity" as part of police reform so law enforcement officers no longer enjoy blanket protection from being sued for abusing the public trust.

Even Senate Republicans are working on police reform.

Led by South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate GOP introduced the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act last week to improve police reform, accountability and transparency.

At a time when Trump has expressed overt authoritarian tendencies by praising dictatorial thugs in other countries like Russia and North Korea, his focus on law enforcement takes on a new sense of urgency.

Biden has raised the specter that if Trump loses the election, he may not concede defeat.

Even worse, the president may call on his army of police officers to restore order and back an attempt to postpone, cancel, or invalidate the November election.

Biden said he may have to deploy the military or law enforcement to forcibly remove Trump from the White House.

No wonder so many Americans say the country headed in the wrong direction.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From The Hill

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon