Manhattan Institute

Assassination Fantasies

At a Times Square rally, an open call for Trump’s murder is ignored by elected officials.

Following President Trump’s declaration on Twitter Wednesday that transgender people would not be permitted to serve in the armed forces, protestors converged on Times Square. Assembling in front of the Armed Services Recruiting Station, several hundred people cheered as local elected officials and LGBT activists denounced both the decision and President Trump generally.

Most of the crowd held small printed signs reading, “Resist”; others waved the familiar “NO!” signs from the Revolutionary Communist Party-backed Refuse Fascism movement. A few handmade signs stood out in the relatively compact crowd, in particular one that read, in black against a red background,






The first four names on this list, of course, are the presidents murdered in office, in chronological order; the last embodies the seeming wish of many on the American Left that someone put him on it for real. As seen in the picture accompanying this article, Trump’s name is embellished with horns and a tail, and flames indicate that the president is roasting in Hell: in demonizing Trump, the protestor left little room for interpretation.

The sign was held aloft for the duration of the event, in full view of the crowd, the media, the NYPD, and at least a dozen elected officials, but garnered no comment or acknowledgement. Perhaps historical literacy is so low that the sign’s meaning eluded most people, but it’s more likely that the pitch of outrage is keyed so high in leftist political rhetoric that the message on the sign was basically unremarkable—uncontroversial, even.

Consider the types of things that now pass as respectable dissenting opinion. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a press release this week announcing “Republicans just made the U.S. Senate a death panel,” because they voted to permit debate on changing Obamacare, which is in a state of critical failure. The evening before the president’s announcement, Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the city council, tweeted, in response to nothing in particular, “Just sickened by this maniacal, self-absorbed, narcissistic, sadist, misogynistic, so-called President. Your days are numbered, FOOL.” Given Mark-Viverito’s open support and affection for convicted political terrorists like Oscar Lopez Rivera and Isabel Rosado Morales, it is hard to read “your days are numbered” as only figurative.

Public Advocate Tish James spoke at the rally, leading chants in favor of resistance to President Trump, in view of the sign calling for his death. James first ascended to office in 2003, after her predecessor, Councilmember James E. Davis, was shot to death by a rival on the floor of Chambers at City Hall. One would have hoped that James would thus be attuned to ugly, violent political discourse, but she chose to ignore its presence in front of her face.

Councilman Corey Johnson, speaking at Wednesday’s protest, said that Trump’s announcement “is not just an attack on trans service members; this is an attack on the entire United State military by this president.” Another councilman, Jumaane Williams, tweeted a picture of the rally, including the sign calling for Trump’s assassination, with the inscrutable comment, “At 42nd street rally against @realDonaldTrump #transmilitaryban. You cannot hate nearly. #istandforhumandignity”—presumably meaning that there is no limit to the amount of hate that one should feel toward the president.

When asked about the hateful message of the protestor’s poster, Williams responded, “I don’t approve of that sign.” Corey Johnson also expressed concern about the sign when asked about it, saying, “I do not support any political violence, against anyone.” Such disavowals of political violence are welcome, of course, despite their perfunctory, after-the-fact nature. But the question remains why hundreds of protestors, and at least a few dozen politicians and political aides and advocates, did not take a moment to disavow it to the person in Times Square openly calling for President Trump’s violent death.

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