What would the former president, Donald Trump, do if he gets another term? It appears it would involve a lot of payback against his enemies.
The Donald Trump Revenge Tour?
When people run for president of the United States, they usually have a wide range of goals once they arrive in office. But no president has ever entered office with revenge against his enemies as the primary goal, nor has any candidate made that an explicit part of their pitch.
It’s been clear, from a great deal of reporting as well as his own statements, that Donald Trump believes he didn’t go far enough in his first term, he trusted too many who had less than 100 percent loyalty, and he plans to do way more in a second go as president- including a great deal of revenge.
ABC News reported back in July that Donald Trump had said at a rally that he is not just “your candidate,” but rather “your retribution.”
Trump, ABC said in July, “vowed that if reelected, he will wield his power to personally remake parts of the federal government to a degree that historian Mark Updegrove said was unprecedented. Trump has promised to hamstring perceived enemies, including in the Department of Justice, which is currently investigating him, and target Republican bogeymen like President Joe Biden.”
This will include criminal investigations of Trump’s opponents, as well as mass firings of career officers in what Donald Trump supporters call “the deep state.”
“This is the final battle. … Either they win or we win,” Trump had said in the spring.
In an analysis this week, CNN looked at what Trump has in store for a second term.
“Donald Trump is conjuring his most foreboding vision yet of a possible second term, telling supporters in language resonant of the run-up to the January 6 mob attack on the US Capitol that they need to “fight like hell” or they will lose their country,” CNN’s Stephen Collinson said in the analysis.
In a recent appearance in South Dakota, the report said, the former president accused President Biden of directly ordering the indictments against him. That did not happen, but it hasn’t stopped Trump from, on more than one occasion, promising to order prosecutions of his own political enemies.
In a recent appearance with Glenn Beck, Beck asked Trump, “Do you regret not locking [Hillary Clinton] up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?”
Trump’s response was that “the answer is you have no choice because they’re doing it to us.”
“I don’t think there’s ever been a darkness around our nation like there is now,” Trump said at the South Dakota rally.
“This is a big moment in our country because we’re either going to go one way or the other and if we go the other, we’re not going to have a country left,” Trump supporters in South Dakota, echoing the language he used in the January 6 rally. “We will fight together, we will win together and then we will seek justice together.”
According to the CNN analysis, this has the potential to get ugly.
“The autocratic cast of Trump’s campaign is creating an ominous atmosphere around the 2024 election and generating profound dilemmas for voters and his opponents. It, for instance, lends extra importance to a growing debate over whether Biden, at the age of 80, has the necessary stamina and political resilience to beat Trump a second time,” Collinson wrote.
“While his predecessor spent the weekend casting doubt on America’s election system, Biden was on the other side of the globe in India and Vietnam building international support for his signature foreign policy strategy of combating the threat to Western democracy from authoritarian leaders in China and Russia.”
The analysis also looked at whether Donald Trump promising such things will hurt his chances to actually win.
“At the same time, Trump’s strong lead in the primary shows there is a market for his brand of strongman theatrics. Millions of voters trust and admire him and have been persuaded both by his false claims that he won the 2020 election and that the criminal indictments he is facing are an attempt to persecute him for his political views,” the CNN analysis said.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.