A Very Trump Thanksgiving
It would be nice to have a holiday that the former guy didn’t intrude into. My idea of a vacation would be a long weekend where Donald Trump didn’t threaten a federal prosecutor, a judge’s law clerk, or democracy itself.
But we are not there yet. I hope we will be there, or close, by this time next year. But now is not the moment to ignore Donald Trump’s rants and threats. He has a history of saying the quiet part out loud, of letting us know just how bad his intentions are. It’s incumbent upon us to listen. I understand the folks who think we shouldn’t share his hate-filled diatribes, but if we do not, it’s easy for people to push him aside as a crazy uncle, not as the serious threat he is to the future of our country.
This Thanksgiving was no exception. Trump attacked Judge Arthur Engoron’s law clerk, on whom he’s had some sort of weird laser focus ever since he posted a picture of her with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on his “Truth Social” feed, insinuating that they were in some sort of relationship—which was a lie—leading to the Judge’s gag order on Trump. But it wasn’t just the clerk, Allison Greenfield. Trump went all in, using language that anyone who understands how he operates knows is inflammatory, if not targeting, towards New York’s Attorney General Letitia James, Judge Engoron, and President Biden. And that’s just one post.
But it’s Trump’s targeting of Judge Engoron’s law clerk that tell us the most about what the country has to fear if Trump regains power. In a sworn affidavit from an officer assigned to the New York judicial threats assessment unit, which was submitted in support of keeping the gag order in place, disturbing details about the impact of Trump’s prior post about the Judge and his law clerk came to light. The judge and his staff are receiving hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls every day. The email and voicemail messages are so concerning that they have required security personnel “to constantly reassess and evaluate what security protections to put in place to ensure the safety of the judge and those around him.” For the Judge’s clerk, in particular, the threats have been voluminous and serious. It took 275 single spaced pages to transcribe all of them.
The affidavit also indicates that since the gag order was temporarily lifted on November 16 while the matter is on appeal, the threatening messages have increased. Around half of the 20-30 calls per day to the law clerk’s personal cell phone and 30-50 messages daily on social media platforms and personal email addresses are antisemitic.
This is deliberate attack on a blameless private citizen, made by Trump in order to advance his own agenda. And in the context of the division in the country over the Hamas attack on Israel, the fact that many of the threats she receives are antisemitic is truly concerning. We know Trump is no leader, that he does not care about the country or any of its people—his relationships are purely transactional, and unless there is something in it for him, he will sacrifice anyone to advance himself. Someone who feels safe and anonymous today could be the recipient of Trump’s ire tomorrow simply because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and he needs a victim to distract from whatever trouble he is in at the moment.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Special Counsel’s office filed a Rule 28(j) notice to make the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, which is considering the separate gag order issued by Judge Chutkan in the election interference prosecution case in D.C., aware of the details in the New York state filing. They wanted the record in the D.C. case to reflect that Trump’s conduct in the New York fraud case had exposed court personnel to threats in that matter, and that lifting the gag order had made it worse—the threats spike when Trump makes his attacks.
Trump filed a response today, insinuating that he is not to blame for what other people do. But that is a tired and laughable effort to shirk blame at this point. Even if Trump might have argued, years ago, that he was unaware of the effect his words had on his followers, that time is long past.
So happy Thanksgiving from your past and wannabe future president. We cannot say it loudly enough or frequently enough: Trump continues to be a danger to us. Anyone who doesn’t understand that they or someone they love, their children or grandchildren, could be the next one subjected to the treatment Judge Engoron’s law clerk is receiving, or that Fulton County election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss were subjected to, isn’t paying attention. There are very real risks.
We've seen enough. Now it’s time to get to work and make sure Trump never holds public office again. Even though we’re heading into the holidays, there are simple steps you can take now to make sure you’re ready come the new year:
Make sure you’re registered to vote
Sign up to work the polls
Pick a campaign to support or work on
Join the League of Women Voters or another pro-voting group
Don’t miss any opportunity, even if it’s inconvenient, to encourage others to take where we are seriously
A friend who is well-educated and well-meaning said to me this week that she didn't see any chance Trump had of winning next November. "Am I being naïve?" she asked. “Yes,” I told her.
This coming election is going to be an all hands on deck event. Trump and other MAGA anti-democracy candidates will have to be beaten at the polls, and then likely again in the courts, and perhaps in our communities. As we head into the holidays, let's start thinking about how each of us can take personal responsibility for the future. Share your ideas.
If you missed this post from @bidenharrishq on Threads, it’s a good one. Read it now and save it for your next family dinner or office party. Or for daily use.
Each post has a series of facts and figures on key issues to refute the misinformation Trump is spreading. Here’s just one example.
It’s nice to see the Biden/Harris campaign putting information like this out in a readily digestible fashion. We may draw different conclusions than other people from a set of facts, but it’s important to refuse to live in the fact-free environment populated by Donald Trump and his followers. Facts still matter.
We’re in this together,