Once he leaves office, Trump will be in a bind. His cult followers love his bellicose rhetoric that targeted and threatened all the people he deemed his enemies. But without the protection that comes with being president, he is much more vulnerable to the consequences of his reckless speech and even he must realize that he cannot continue to speak that way. His short speech decrying violence after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol was viewed as being forced on him by advisors who warned him that he faced trouble for inciting a riot, especially if another one occurred before the inauguration.
But some of his cult members feel betrayed by what they see as him backing off and not being sufficiently supportive of them.
When he emerged on camera a short while later, tail tucked between his legs, to condemn the rioters whom he himself had incited, and to call for a peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden, his base felt betrayed.
“So he basically just sold out the patriots who got rounded up for him,” one person wrote in a 15,000-member pro-Trump Telegram group. “Just wow.”
In online havens for MAGA extremists, including Gab, CloutHub, MeWe, Telegram and far-right message boards such as 8kun, the tone toward Trump is shifting. HuffPost reviewed thousands of messages across these platforms and found that a growing minority of the president’s once-devout backers are now denouncing him and rejecting his recent pleas for peace. Some have called for his arrest or execution, labeling him a “traitor” and a “coward.” Alarmingly, many of those who are irate about Biden’s supposed electoral theft are still plotting to forcibly prevent him from taking office — with or without Trump’s help.
“We don’t follow you,” another Telegram user wrote, addressing Trump, after the president put out his video urging calm and order. “Be quiet and get out of our way.”
Among the recent messages excoriating Trump in dedicated pro-Trump networks: “tbh I hope they hang Trump at this point”; “He deserves what’s coming to him”; “he is literally done he will die in jail”; “Seriously hoping they’ll lock him up or lynch [him]”; “Guy is the biggest cuck ever at this point”; “Can’t wait til the left locks up his bitch ass. Rot in prison.” Several people have proclaimed that at this point, Trump can only redeem himself by declaring martial law to maintain power by force.
“He can promise and call for peace all he likes,” one Gab user wrote. “Won’t make a blind bit of difference.”
There will always be those who stick with him through thick and thin.
Some of his followers who took part in the insurrection were hoping for a pardon but that was always unlikely. For him to pardon them would be to acknowledge that they were acting on his instructions and would increase his own legal jeopardy. He will always act to save his own skin.
Trump is and always has been a paper tiger, getting other to do his dirty work for him while looking out for himself. That has worked for him for quite a while but that road seems to be coming to an end.