Twice in recent months, allies of former President Trump have used violent language to criticize criminal charges brought against him, calling for vengeance and encouraging Trump’s supporters to respond to the indictments as though they were acts of war. Both times — in April in Manhattan and on Tuesday in Miami — police and civic leaders raised concerns that the angry rhetoric could lead to violent protests when Trump appeared in court. Both times, the crowds that actually showed up for Trump were relatively tame and fairly small. Just because the aggressive words did not result in aggressive actions hardly meant they were not corrosive to democracy, scholars of political violence told the New York Times. They did note that after the cataclysmic events of Jan. 6, 2021, many Trump supporters have become more reluctant to act on statements by Trump’s allies suggesting that a second American Revolution might be coming or calling for civil war.
One reason for the absence of conflict in Miami was that the prosecutions of Jan. 6 protesters — which now amount to more than 1,000 criminal cases — have had a deterrent effect on those who might have once considered violence. Many people also remain angry at Trump for failing to provide monetary support for those jailed on his behalf after Jan. 6. Other people seemed to have stayed away from pro-Trump protests, including those this week, fearing that they might become entrapped in what they believe to be FBI “false flag operations.” There was no shortage of belligerent language in the days leading up to Trump’s arraignment in Miami. A Miami chapter of the Proud Boys long associated with RogerJ Stone., Trump’s longtime political adviser, posted a flier on its Telegram page last week advertising an event at the federal courthouse on Tuesday morning. In the end, the Proud Boys did not show up, suggesting that Trump’s grip on the organization may have loosened.