We have said it numerous times during the past four months, and once again we reference the fact we are living in unprecedented times. In its 38-year history, Gazette Chicago has never posted an editorial prior to its monthly publication date. However, the fear and fright before us—that President Donald Trump will send more than 150 Federal troops to Chicago—cannot wait for our response in our August 7 issue. Nor should you sit by and wait for the worst to happen.
We cannot have a repeat of what is occurring in Portland, Oregon, take place on the streets of Chicago. Or, in other Democratic cities across our country. This is an abhorrent political move based on a desperate president who has no intent in governing with integrity, empathy, and for the concern of his fellow Americans. Notice too, Trump is only referring to Democratic cities when considering sending in his hastily gathered storm troopers to address protests in the streets. You can smell through the political stench of this pretty quickly.
Put the pieces together
There is a slow moving coup d’etat occurring in this country to keep Donald Trump in the White House. Put the pieces together and the plan becomes clear.
Latest polls show that Trump is down between 11 and 15 points in the polls to Joe Biden in the presidential election. Biden and Trump were closer in the polls before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Due to his inept handling of the pandemic, however, Trump put himself in a position that he is going to lose. So he and his team are making some moves to make sure that does not happen.
Trump promoted Bill Stepien to be his campaign manager and demoted Brad Parscale on July 15. And suddenly, the campaign messaging pivoted to being about riots and law and order. Stepien, by the way, was involved in the scandal in New Jersey with former Republican Governor Chris Christie in which expressway lanes were closed for political reasons (i.e., “Bridgegate”); Stepien’s lawyer cited the Fifth Amendment in Stepien’s refusing to provide documents in response to a subpoena in the case. They are also taking a page from the 1968 playbook of Richard Nixon in his effort to run as the “law and order” presidential candidate. This from Trump? He has not only failed to calm the frustrations, fears, and anger of Americans after the death of George Floyd at the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis, but he has made incendiary and tone-deaf remarks every opportunity he gets.
Republicans had been the party of states’ rights and local government, but they have completely ignored local City, State, and Federal officials, who repeatedly said that they do not want these troops. The Attorney General of Oregon is now suing the Federal government, as is the appointed U.S. Attorney for that area.
Kudos to organized moms in Portland, known as the Wall of Moms, who locked arms to protect the protesters. The Federal troops tear gassed them. When a retired U.S. Navy vet tried to have a conversation with the storm troopers, they beat him with batons, breaking his hand, and tear gassed him, too. How can anyone defend these actions? How can anyone sit idly by and say “yeah, this is okay” when your fellow Americans’ First Amendment rights are being trampled in the streets? In totalitarian Chile in the 1970s and 1980s, the moms led the fight to find out what happened to the people that the secret police made “disappear.” What has happened to those in Portland who Trump’s secret police made disappear? With a desperate narcissist in the White House, it isn’t hyperbole to think that things can really go off the deep end in our city streets. It already has in Portland. Is Chicago next?
Rather than backing off, Trump has said he wants to expand use of Federal troops to other cities, including Chicago. Cuccinelli on July 17 told National Public Radio that the government is not going to stop but instead take the tactics nationwide.
Giving the Trumpsters political cover to do so in Chicago is John Catanzara Jr., head of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police (the police union), who wrote a letter to Trump on July 18 asking him for help in addressing what he described as “chaos” in Chicago and calling Mayor Lori Lightfoot “a complete failure.” What an insult to the Chicago Police Catanzara supposedly represents.
Look for Catanzara, who never passes up an opportunity (whether legitimate or not) to criticize Mayor Lightfoot or new Police Commissioner David Brown, to run for mayor or another office in the future, with Republican backing. He has 50 complaints against him as a police officer, yet the rank and file elected him by a 55% to 45% vote over former incumbent FOP President Kevin Graham. This is who Chicago police want to represent them?
Keep Federal troops out of Chicago
We demand that the Federal government not send these Trump troopers to Chicago. We encourage all to support the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union who are fighting this fascism. We also urge you, right now, to contact Illinois U.S. Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to share your opposition to this despicable maneuver. You can reach them at (312) 353-4952 for Durbin and (312) 886-3506 for Duckworth.
In an interview with Fox News’ Chis Wallace on July 19, Trump refused to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election, repeating his frequent false claim that mail-in ballots are “rigged.” Trump and most of his top officials have voted by mail for years, by the way. Trump also lied (again) in saying that his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton did not accept the results of the 2016 election, when Clinton called Trump on election night and conceded. Wallace, as only a Fox News talking head could do, concurred with Trump.
Just in case Trump is not successful in discrediting mail-in ballots, he is doing his best to make sure they do not arrive by working to defund the U.S. Postal Service and installing Trump loyalist Louis DeJoy as postmaster general; DeJoy already has cut Postal Service overtime, slowing mail delivery. So what if those mail-in ballots don’t arrive on time to either the voters or local board of election? Oh well. Trump and the GOP know all too well that the more people vote, the better the chances of Democrats winning.
Biden has been addressing this fear of Trump not leaving office if Trump loses the election for a while now, with Biden on June 10 saying he is “absolutely convinced” that the military would escort Trump out of the White House. Immediately, Trump began shakeups at the Pentagon, appointing Trump loyalists to top military posts, making it less likely for that to happen. Kudos to Nancy Pelosi on July 20 saying that Trump will be removed from the White House if he loses. Legally, it is the Secret Service that would do this, and we hope they will do their duty.
So to put the pieces together: Trump is going to try to make the election about law and order, instead of the coronavirus, in a last-ditch attempt to win; if that doesn’t work, he is already undermining the results of the election, and has telegraphed that he intends to stay in the White House if he loses, saying that the mail-in ballots are illegitimate and making sure the Postal Service cannot deliver such ballots with certainty; and he is appointing loyalists in the Pentagon to make sure the military will not remove him. It’s a slow-moving coup d’etat. But a coup d’etat nonetheless. Be vigilant.