On the heels of his massive delegate gains Tuesday night, Donald Trump has been making the rounds on cable news Wednesday morning, and on at least one stop, offered a rather chilling warning/prediction/threat. On CNN’s New Day, Trump told anchor Chris Cuomo what he thought would happen if Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with a big delegate lead that was short of the 1,237 threshold, but the Republican Party chose a different candidate:
I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re, you know, 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think you would have riots. I think you would have riots.
… I think you would see problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really do. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.
Trump generously allows that he won’t lead the riots, but nowhere does he appear to be discouraging them, and in fact, appears to be rationalizing for his followers. As Greg Sargent points out, his intent hardly matters:
It’s hard to say whether this is intended as a threat or a prediction. But the unsettling fact of the matter is that there is no particular reason to rule out the former — that it was indeed intended as a tacit threat, as least of a certain kind. Trump has been playing a clever little game where he hints at the possibility of violence while stopping short of explicitly threatening it — yet he also doesn’t denounce such an outcome as acceptable, so his hints effectively function as a threat.
It’s also a not-so-subtle message to voters in the remaining primary and caucus states that if they don’t want things to come to that, they ought to get out and vote Trump.
In any case, he’s probably right, there probably will be riots, but since they’re Republicans, and hence almost all white, the media will call it a “boisterous celebration.”
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.