Donald Trump's aggressive response to his fourth criminal indictment in five months follows a strategy he has long used against legal and political opponents: relentless attacks, often infused with language that is either overtly racist or is coded in ways that appeal to racists, the Associated Press reports. The Republican presidential front-runner has used terms such as “animal” and “rabid” to describe Black district attorneys. He accused Black prosecutors of being "racist." He has made unsupported claims about their personal lives. On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump has used terms that rhyme with racial slurs as some of his supporters post racist screeds about the same targets. The former president plans to turn himself in and be processed at the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Thursday under an agreement reached Monday on a $200,000 bond and other release conditions.
The rhetoric is a reminder of Trump’s tendency to use coded racial messaging as a signal to supporters, an approach he has used over several decades as he evolved from a New York City real estate tycoon to a reality television star and, eventually, president. Even if he doesn’t explicitly employ racial slurs, his language recalls the nation’s history of portraying Black people as not fully human. “He’s taking that historical racialized language that was offensive and insulting, and the subordinating of Black persons, applying it in a contemporary space and really bubbling up that history,” said Bev-Freda Jackson, a professor in the school of public affairs at American University.