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People Need to Stop Calling Right-Wing Extremism a “Civil War,” says Yale Professor

As Donald Trump and his legal team continue to shift their narrative surrounding classified documents, the fear mongering by the former President and his allies continues to have a far-reaching impact. On Thursday, a fervent Trump supporter was shot and killed by police—after he fired a nail gun into an FBI office in Cincinnati. All week, right-wing Republican leaders have been ironically threatening to “Defund the FBI” as punishment for the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search. Meanwhile, Trump fan pages on social media have ratcheted up calls for a bloody “civil war.” Yale Professor and historian Joanne Freeman takes issue with that language. In addition to being “threatening,” Freeman says the “civil war” crowd isn’t organized enough to spark a war. And ultimately, it undermines “the real ugliness and violence on the surface of what’s going on right now.” “Words and rhetoric really matter,” says Freeman, “particularly if they are coming from someone high up. Not only do they frame things, but they are a way of sort of setting things in motion.”

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