An FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Florida resort this week has sparked a surge in extremist rhetoric online, raising fears of a new wave of political violence .
When FBI agents executed a search warrant in Mar-a-Lago, the former president said on the Truth Social platform, "My beautiful home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-A-Lago is now , was besieged, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
“Never before has anything like this happened to a President of the United States,” Trump wrote. . "The lawlessness, political persecution, and witch-hunting must be exposed and stopped."
The backlash among his fans was swift.
The widely reported comment was quickly deleted, but other users of the site continued to share their thoughts.
When Trump intervened with his FBI over the "horrible things" that happened in Mar-a-Lago, his supporters turned violent, much of the anger directed at law enforcement. rice field.
"Kill all feeds," wrote user his monkeylovebanana.
Referring to Attorney General Merrick Garland, another commenter wrote:
A federal judge who signed a search warrant was also targeted.
"You can see a rope around his neck," Dckman, a well-known user of the site, wrote in a post featuring a photo of the judge.
Some of the patriots.win commenters are well-known users, according to Advance Democracy, the non-profit research group that studied them.
One has been identified as Tyler, a Trump supporter who pleaded guilty to breaking into the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In response to the "Lock and Load" comment, Slaeker wrote, using his online persona his Banana Guard 62, "I suspect we are in a cold war at this point." increase.
The administrators of patriots.win do not allow users to post violent threats and say that "violent incidents" are not attributed to posters on the site. increase.
However, a militant researcher said the site, formerly known as TheDonald.win, was the platform for planning and mobilizing attacks on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. said to have functioned as
Daniel Jones, President of Advance Democracy, floated the idea that TheDonald.win users would build a gallows outside the Capitol on his January 6th, before Mike Pence. He targeted the vice president for refusing to recognize Trump as the winner. 2020 election.
"There is no doubt that the user was involved on January 6th and was involved in creating threats related to Mar-A-Lago," Jones said. told VOA.
Patriots.win is not the only fringe his platform where violent rhetoric has surged. Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, says many Trump supporters are turning to Telegram, Rumble, Gab, Gettr, TikTok and Twitter to vent their anger. said.
"From my own monitoring, it's a deluge and the only real discussion going on on many of these sites is about FBI raids," he said. Told.
More alarming, extremism experts say attacks on law enforcement agencies have been linked to the former president's influential mainstream supporters. It means that it comes from
"These people are attacking his FBI, calling the Department of Justice corrupt, and all of this is political, affecting the ecosystem where people support Trump. ,” Bayrich said.
In an attempt to calm anger, the Justice Department on Thursday asked a federal judge to open Trump's search warrant and related documents.
The head of law enforcement countered Republican criticism that the Justice Department and his FBI had been "weaponized."
Garland, a former federal judge and Supreme Court nominee, said the attacks were baseless.
"I will not stand by as their integrity is unfairly attacked," Garland said in a televised statement. In a written statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray called violence and threats of violence against the FBI "dangerous and deeply concerning to all Americans."
"Every day, the men and women of the FBI perform their duties professionally, demonstrating rigor, objectivity, and devotion to our mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution." I see it working," Ray said.