“Let’s gut her”

Slate had a piece about Trump and his team a few days ago that’s so horrifying I had to pause in reading it. It’s about how they echoed threats against Megyn Kelly to the point that a Fox executive had to explain to them that it wouldn’t help their campaign if she were murdered.

Donald Trump’s feud with Megyn Kelly was way darker than any of us knew. Kelly received so many death threats and so much harassment from Trump supporters after confronting him at the first Republican debate with a challenging question about his many, many misogynistic statements that she needed a special security detail for a year.

The Trump campaign stoked the flames of the Kelly hate, the Fox News host told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview on Wednesday, to the point that one of the top executives at Fox News had to explain to one of Trump’s top employees why if she “gets killed” it might be bad for their campaign.

“Michael Cohen, who is Trump’s top lawyer and executive vice president with the Trump Organization had retweeted ‘let’s gut her,’ about me,” Kelly said. “At a time when the threat level was very high, which he knew. And Bill Shine, an executive vice president of Fox, called him up to say, ‘You got to stop this. We understand you are angry but she’s got three kids and is walking around New York.’ ”

The “let’s gut her” made me gasp.

This is why this new regime is not legitimate and never will be. Their chief selling point is bullying and cruelty. We know where bullying and cruelty lead when they are fostered and encouraged, as Trump fosters and encourages them as well as modelling them himself. This is what makes the comparison to Hitler entirely apt. Hitler didn’t campaign on a platform of killing millions of people because he hated them. He campaigned on a platform of hating millions of people, and then went on to the genocide later. People who love bullying and cruelty the way Trump does cannot be trusted not to put them into action.

We’ve never had a president like this before. We’ve had plenty of bad ones, but never ones who would stand up in front of crowds and mock a disabled reporter, mock a woman who tottered because she had pneumonia, mock a woman reporter for menstruating. He’s a mean bastard all the way through, and mean bastards are not safe. He’d kill us all if he felt like it and had the power.

And – we already know this, sadly – even if he doesn’t organize a few genocides, his presence in the job is valorizing and encouraging mean bastards everywhere. Bullying has been given a veneer of legitimacy by the election of this evil piece of shit. That’s why we’re all so plunged in despair.

Cohen is no stranger to elaborate threats against journalists. When the Daily Beast republished an account of a sworn deposition from Trump’s first wife Ivana in which she had used the word rape to describe something Trump did to her, Cohen said “you cannot rape your spouse” and then threatened the reporters.

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen told the Daily Beast at the time. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added.

He’s Trump’s consigliere.

As ABC News reported in 2011, Cohen is a fan of violent metaphors, if not violence itself:

Cohen, 44, is known around the office—and around New York—as Trump’s “pit bull.” Some have even nicknamed him “Tom,” a reference to Tom Hagen, the consigliore to Vito Corleone in the “Godfather” movies.

“It means that if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit,” Cohen said in an interview with ABC News. “If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”

Yeah that’s really what we want in the White House.

In an interview with the New York Times, Kelly said her experience should be troubling to anyone worried about how a free press might be treated and might operate under President-elect Trump’s incoming administration:

“The relentless campaign that Trump unleashed on me and Fox News to try to get coverage the way he liked it was unprecedented and potentially very dangerous,” she said … If he were to repeat the same behavior from the White House, she said, “it would be quite chilling for many reporters.”

Just a tad.

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