House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) warned Friday that an escalation in violent rhetoric by former President Trump has the potential “to get someone killed.”
Trump, who is under investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) related to hush money payments to an adult film actress, had written hours earlier that charges brought against him in that case could lead to “potential death & destruction.”
Jeffries said such threats bear echoes to Trump’s message leading up to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, warning the former president might spark another episode of violence if he doesn’t tone down his language.
“The twice-impeached former president’s rhetoric is reckless, reprehensible and irresponsible. It’s dangerous, and if he keeps it up, he’s going to get someone killed,” Jeffries said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
“We’ve already seen the consequences of incitement from the former president,” he continued. “He is principally responsible for inciting the violent insurrection that happened on Jan. 6. But clearly he has not learned his lesson.”
Trump is the subject of a series of state and federal investigations for his role in the Jan. 6 rampage, his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the discovery of classified documents at his palatial residence in South Florida. But the Manhattan case is the longest-running, based on $130,000 paid to the actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, and Bragg has given recent signals that an indictment against Trump might be imminent.
Trump, who is the leading GOP contender for the White House in 2024, has denied any wrongdoing, accusing Bragg of conducting a political witch hunt. And in the earliest hours of Friday morning, he issued a statement on social media warning of violence if he is indicted.
“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
“Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!”
Despite Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack, and his repeated false assertions that the 2020 election was “stolen,” a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill are already endorsing his presidential bid.
Jeffries on Friday took a shot at those GOP lawmakers, suggesting they are complicit in any violence that stems from Trump’s remarks.
“It’s also very unfortunate that the extreme MAGA Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to back President Trump and his reckless, and his violent, and his hateful and his disgusting rhetoric,” Jeffries said.