Trump's Ominous Reaction to Report He Wanted to Execute People – The New Republic

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Trump's Ominous Reaction to Report He Wanted to Execute People – The New Republic

Former Trump communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin revealed that Trump called for the execution of a staffer on several occasions during his time in the White House—and somehow, the disturbing news (and Trump’s even more troubling reaction to it) already seems to be fading from the headlines.
Griffin told Mediaite on Friday that Trump called to execute a staffer who leaked a story about Trump hiding in a bunker during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police murder of George Floyd.
He “straight up said [the] staffer who leaked … should be executed,” Griffin noted, adding that “there were [other incidents] where he talked about executing people.”
Griffin went on to call out former Attorney General Bill Bar, whom she claimed knew of the whole thing when asked about the report in a CNN interview in April. “Bill Barr kind of danced [around] it and said, ‘I don’t recall that specific instance,’ but there were others where we talked about executing people.”
During that CNN interview, Barr did in fact seem to justify the remarks, claiming Trump “would lose his temper” and “blow off steam” by calling to execute people. Creepily, Barr noted that eventually Trump could be talked down from his desire to see people he got upset with put to death, saying, “I doubt he would’ve actually carried it out.” Barr made no mention of what would happen if Trump couldn’t be talked down, nor could Barr say with absolute certainty—instead hedging in doubt—that Trump wouldn’t have gone through with overseeing the execution of political enemies.
In response to the news that Trump had called for a staffer’s execution, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung issued an ominous and bizarre statement to Newsweek: “As President Trump has said, the best revenge is the success and prosperity of all Americans.” Cheung did not confirm or deny any of the details of the meeting between Griffin, Barr, and Trump.
Trump’s disturbing penchant for execution is just par for the course for the would-be dictator, whose bloodlust has increased in the public eye post-conviction. In early June, Trump told Dr. Phil that “sometimes revenge can be justified.” On Newsmax days earlier, Trump suggested he may pursue charges against Biden in retaliation for his hush-money trial—an investigation that he blames on Biden but which began in 2018—when Trump himself was president and more than a year before Biden announced his 2020 bid for the White House. And in 2016, Trump regularly called to imprison Hillary Clinton—calls that the freshly convicted felon now denies making but which were a hallmark of his campaign.
Donald Trump struggled to make sense during another campaign stop over the weekend—but this time couldn’t help himself from boasting one more time that he “aced” a cognitive test during his presidency.
While speaking during a rally in Detroit Saturday, Trump returned to degrading the concept of electric batteries, going as far as to mock the idea of environmental sustainability while alleging that environmental activists were pushing the U.S. Army to make their war machines sustainable.
“They want to make them now electric. So that when you go into enemy territory, and you obliterate the enemy and you knock down what those tanks are firing, you do it in an environmentally friendly way,” Trump said to rising laughter. “The problem with the Army tanks like cars and like trucks, the problem is that you would have to bring a battery pack along. You’re going to pull it like a little wagon, like a child pulls a wagon. So they want to build an Army tank. But, you know, the battery is very big and very heavy.”
Trump: The problem with the Army tanks like cars and like trucks, the problem is that you would have to bring a battery pack along. You’re going to pull it like a little wagon, like a child pulls a wagon. So they want to build a army tank. But, you know, the battery is very big
Trump has been on a tirade recently against the basic concept of electric batteries. Speaking at a Las Vegas rally last week, Trump tried to explain his opinions on why electric batteries might be a bad addition to boats and other water-based vehicles, but ended up complaining about his fear of sharks.

But Trump’s recent gripe with environmental advocates may have started with misinformation: a Greta Thunberg deepfake that went viral last fall, in which the manipulated image and voice of the youth environmental activist called for “biodegradable missiles,” “vegan grenades,” and “sustainable tanks and weaponry.”
Despite the complete lack of coherence—or precedent—for claiming that environmentalists want green war, Trump then went on to remind the crowd how he “aced” a cognitive test … but forgot his doctor’s name while doing so.
“I took a cognitive test, and I aced it. Doc Ronny. Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas?” Trump said, misremembering Representative Ronny Jackson’s name while challenging President Joe Biden to take a cognitive test. “He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history, so I liked him very much immediately.”
“In fact, he said if I didn’t eat junk food, I would live to 200. That’s what he said. But I said, Ronny, should I take a test? He said, well, you know, it’s Walter Reed. It’s sort of a public hospital. If you don’t do well, they’re going to find out about it. I said, well, you know, like I’m a smart person and, how tough is it? He said, it gets very tough as you get to the middle of it. And I did something that he’s never seen done. I aced it. I got every question right. I aced it,” Trump boasted.
Trump: I think he should take a cognitive test like I did. I took a cognitive test and I aced it. Doc Ronny. Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in…
Trump has taken to arguing that cognitive exams should be mandatory for higher office since special counsel Robert Hur issued a damning, 388-page analysis of Biden’s mental acuity, in which he described the 81-year-old president as having “significant limitations.”

In the years since he “aced” the exam, Trump has invariably tweaked the questions he allegedly received on the test, at times boasting that he had correctly recited five words and performed basic multiplication, while at other times insisting that he passed thanks to correctly identifying a whale. That is, in spite of the fact that the test’s authors claim that none of the three versions in circulation actually have a whale on them.
Donald Trump can’t outrun his tactless comment about Milwaukee, so now, he’s decided to pretend it never happened in the first place.
Last week, in a meeting with House Republicans, Trump called Milwaukee a “horrible city,” even though he is expected to head there for the Republican National Convention next month.
Republicans rushed to provide a smattering of explanations for why the former president would self-sabotage in such spectacular fashion, including Trump, who offered his own excuse—and doubled down on his insults, arguing that the city was overrun with crime, even though statistics from the city’s police department don’t support his claims.
Now Trump’s given up on excuses, and has decided to deny, deny, deny. During an interview on Newsmax Saturday, Trump insisted that he’d never said anything about Milwaukee at all.
“They make up a story that I said something bad about Milwaukee, and I just ask you this, who would do that? Who would say something bad about a place that you want to win, you want to win over?” Trump demanded.
Trump: They lie and they make up a story that I said something bad about Milwaukee. And I just ask you this, who would do that? Who would say something bad about a place that you want to win? You want to win over?
Too bad for Trump, not only had several of his lackeys already backed him up and into a corner, but he himself had already acknowledged the original comment.

He’ll get an unpleasant reminder of his words once he arrives in Milwaukee for his likely nomination for president. National Democrats have set up 10 billboards around the city plastered with his face and comment.
Trump held a roundtable meeting at a Black church in Detroit over the weekend that perfectly summarized Trump’s snake oil tendencies—with vastly inflated audience numbers, at least half of whom were white, and Trump ranting his staple complaints about the border, inflation, and crime.
Trump allies praised Trump’s appearance on Saturday at 180 Church as a smashing success, with Kellyanne Conway claiming over 8,000 people magically packed into the rows of seats where only a few hundred could have sat, even as many pews remained empty. Reuters notes the venue wasn’t at capacity by the time the roundtable began.
Kellyanne: You got Donald Trump in Detroit talking to 8000 people at a Black church
The pitch by Team Trump to appeal to Black voters in a city where in 2020 Biden won nearly 95 percent of the vote was further foiled by observations that many in the audience were, in fact, not Black. Per Russ McNamara of WDET, roughly half the crowd were white. Of the eight Black people who attended that he spoke with, none were congregates of the church.
The pastor of the church who agreed to host Trump, Lorenzo Sewell, told MSNBC that people laughed in his face when he attempted to pitch them into attending the event.
“I remember walking down Grand River, a place that is desolate on the west side of Detroit, and walking down the street and just inviting people, saying, ‘The former president is here if you want to come,’” Sewell told MSNBC. “They were laughing like I was when I first was approached.”
Sewell spent time before the event began wearing a ‘Make Black America Great Again’ shirt, according to Reuters, with the panel moderated by Trump V.P. hopeful Byron Donalds. NAACP Detroit Chapter leader and Detroit pastor Dr. Wendell Anthony panned the event, telling MSNBC, “He did not articulate any policy. He articulated the fact that he wanted to come and get some Black votes.”
After his church stunt, Trump gave the keynote address to his real base of racists and white nationalists at Turning Point’s “The People’s Convention.”
On Friday, Lara Trump made what she probably thought was an impassioned statement against committing election fraud and cheating at Turning Point Action’s convention in Detroit.
In reality, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law showed that she doesn’t understand the meaning of irony.
“To anyone who thinks about cheating in an election: If you cheat in an election, we will find you, we will track you down, and we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law,” the Republican National Committee co-chair told Turning Point’s Charlie Kirk, to applause from the audience.
Lara Trump: If you cheat in an election, we’ll find you. We will track you down. We will prosecute you…
But on X (formerly Twitter), it was quickly pointed out that the former president and convicted felon had attempted to do just that in 2020, and is on trial for it in Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Lara Trump’s election as co-chair of the RNC earlier this year signaled her father-in-law’s full takeover of the of Republican Party, and she quickly pushed through different priorities for the party, such as a new election integrity division led by former Trump lawyer and election denier Christina Bobb. That move quickly backfired, as Bobb was charged in Arizona with trying to interfere in the state’s 2020 election results. Similarly, the RNC also lost an attempt to limit voting rights in the Grand Canyon state.
Lately, Lara Trump and the RNC have been preparing for the possibilities that Donald Trump might lose his upcoming presidential debate with Joe Biden, and that he might be in prison or house arrest by the time the party’s convention takes place this summer in Milwaukee (where he doesn’t even want to go). They’re also trying to put together a party platform for the first time since 2016 with yet another election denier (and also January 6 participant), Ed Martin, taking part. Perhaps Lara Trump needs to step back and make sure the new Republican Party platform includes some introspection.
The only thing Rick Scott is better at than bad timing is hypocrisy. The Republican senator and Earthworm Jim lookalike released a campaign ad touting his support for in vitro fertilization on Friday—less than 24 hours after voting against the Right to IVF Act.
The caption for the poorly-timed campaign ad reads, “Each of my 7 grandkids is a precious gift from God. But sometimes families need help. You can count on this grandpa to always protect IVF.” In the ad, the Florida senator mentions that his youngest daughter is receiving IVF treatments and that “she and I both agree IVF must be protected.”
The ad was first posted to Scott’s X (formerly Twitter) account on Friday morning, and was quickly hit with a fact-check that Scott voted to kill the Right to IVF Act the day before.
Each of my 7 grandkids is a precious gift from God. But sometimes families need help.

You can count on this grandpa to always protect IVF.

Watch my latest campaign ad👇
Senate Democrats have attempted to pass legislation to codify access to contraception and IVF into federal law this past week, with Senate Republicans voting opposed and killing the bill each time. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have offered a much weaker bill in support of IVF that would withhold Medicaid funding for the procedure and released a signed letter stating their support for IVF hours before voting down protections. Their softball bill was rejected, with Senator Patty Murphy calling it a “PR tool, plain and simple.”
The effort to codify access to IVF and contraception comes ahead of an increasingly fraught general election season. The Southern Baptist Convention voted to oppose IVF on Tuesday, with Trump ramping up support for their cause. He provided a pre-taped appearance for the SBC’s anti-abortion forum hosted by a group that describes abortion as “child sacrifice.” Trump praised the extremist group, promising they would “make a comeback just like no other group.”
Lindsey Graham still is a Donald Trump sycophant through and through, as evidenced by his birthday message to the former president and convicted felon.
The message posted on X (formerly Twitter) seemed over-the-top, especially since Graham praised Trump’s golf game.

But a quick look behind the scenes reveals that the South Carolina senator thought his initial message didn’t go far enough—and he made a quick edit to the post to make sure to add the word “president” before Trump’s name.
Grahamhas gone from being one of Trump’s early critics to carrying out Marilyn Monroe’s birthday song to John F. Kennedy in the form of a social media post. He has thrown his support behind Trump nearly every step of the way, to the point of getting a little too involved in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results and refusing to accept the 2024 results if Trump doesn’t win. He has bent over backwards to justify Trump’s mishandling of classified documents, criticized the Manhattan district attorney’s office long before Trump was indicted on hush-money charges, and cried foul over the implication of Trump doing anything wrong on January 6, 2021.
It’s a far cry from Graham’s famous quote from 2016: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.” In fact, before Trump’s ascendancy to the White House, Graham was a relative moderate in the Senate, voting to confirm two of Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, supporting legislation to create a legal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and even working on some proposals to tackle climate change.

But as soon as Trump cemented himself in the Oval Office, Graham put his misgivings aside and became Trump’s phone buddy, where they discussed their mutual love of golf. At one point, Graham even promoted Trump’s golf course on his Twitter account. One could be forgiven for forgetting that Trump tweeted Graham’s personal phone number to the public way back during his campaign in 2015.
Florida Democrats secured a candidate in every House and Senate district race in the state by the end of the electoral qualifying deadline Friday, a rare feat for any party but even rarer for one whose efforts in the Sunshine State were deemed to be a lost cause, following an abysmal performance in the 2022 midterms.
The achievement is actually historic: It’s the first time in the last 30 years that Democrats have fielded candidates in all 140 legislative seats up for election this year, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Party leaders were quick to celebrate the “unprecedented” milestone.
“Democrats made history in Florida today,” party chair Nikki Fried said in a statement. “Since control of Florida flipped in the mid-90s, no party has contested every seat in both chambers of the legislature.”
Florida Democratic Party candidates and campaigns director Danielle Hawk underscored the significance of contesting every race, describing the unified, comprehensive effort as “critical.”
“By contesting every race and competing everywhere, Republicans will have to spend more defending their position and unpopular policies,” Hawk said. “We are not going to just let Republicans walk into office without being held accountable.”
Ten of those candidates ran unopposed in their districts, guaranteeing automatic wins in November. And while all of those districts were already blue, Democrats did flip a district in January, hinting at voter dissatisfaction with the reigning conservative party and foreshadowing Friday’s win.
“What actually clinched the win for Democrats was this massive margin with [nonpartisan voters] and perhaps some Republican moderates, as well,” Democratic elections analyst Matt Isbell told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. “If anything, this should be concerning for the GOP because it indicates a voter anger that maybe they have not understood.”
Biden on Friday issued a strong condemnation of a series of “horrific acts of antisemitism” that occurred in New York City over the past week. There’s just one problem: None of the instances Biden cited were antisemitic, despite the media outrage.
Biden’s post references three events that occurred in New York City. The first was a “Day of Rage” protest by Palestinian liberation group Within Our Lifetime, in response to the killing of an estimated 274 Palestinians during a deadly operation by Israel that retrieved four hostages. The protest Monday began at Union Square before traveling to Wall Street, where the organizers criticized an exhibit recreating the wreckage of the Nova Music Festival, where on October 7, 2023, Hamas militants attacked festival goers, leaving 350 people dead. Prior to this protest, a person who had attended the exhibit described it as “a wretched and perverse experiment in grotesquery” and published widely circulated photos of notes left by other attendees rife with Islamophobic rhetoric and support for Israel’s devastation of Gaza.
The protest organizers decried the exhibit as manufactured consent: a display intended to elicit support for Israel’s destruction of Gaza. As part of their condemnation, Within Our Lifetime described the festival itself as “like having a rave next to a concentration camp,” eliciting cheers of agreement, followed by some demonstrators lighting smoke bombs and flares. Soon after, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, who had previously attended the Nova exhibit and described it as “a moving, heart-wrenching remembrance of the Oct 7 massacre” condemned WOL’s protest, saying “viscous targeting of the exhibition is not pro-peace. It is repulsive and vile. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.” WOL followed up, explaining their protest against what they described as “one of the most egregious zionist propaganda projects in our city,” writing in part, “The Nova Exhibition serves only one purpose: to make this level of colonial violence acceptable to the US public.… A recent article in TimeOut states that ‘the Nova Music Festival Exhibition seems to urge viewers to focus on what happened on October 7 and not muse over the events that preceded or came after.’”
The second incident Biden condemned—“vandalism targeting Jewish homes”—stems from vandalism against leadership at the Brooklyn Museum. The origin of the claim appears to have come from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday posted photos of one vandalized home, writing, “Last night vandals defaced the homes of the Jewish director & several Jewish board members of the @brooklynmuseum. The cowards who did this are way over the line into antisemitism.”

Media picked up Lander’s claim, and for roughly a day all reported that the vandalism intentionally targeted Jewish board members. As Arno Rosenfeld of The Forward noted, this was not true, and he pointed to a correction by The New York Times, which initially ran an article with the claim, only to later correct with a note that almost none of the targeted members were Jewish. The anonymous vandals released a statement explaining that their vandalism was in response to the museum calling the cops on protesters during a demonstration on May 31, and named four individuals in positions of leadership at the museum and on the museum’s board of trustees.
The third incident Biden describes, “attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses,” appears to be tied to a recent congressional hearing where notoriously pro-Israel Columbia assistant professor Shai Davidai was invited by Republican representative Jason Smith to testify about “Antisemitism, Radical Faculty, and the Failure of University Leadership.” Davidai is well known at Columbia for falsely conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, collaborating with student agitators against pro-Palestine protests, and having his Columbia ID card briefly suspended to keep him off campus after expressing intent to send more pro-Israel agitators to the middle of the school’s Gaza Solidarity Encampment to antagonize student protesters.
The fourth incident Biden references is perhaps the most disingenuous: Protesters filled subway cars while commuting from Union Square to Wall Street during Within Our Lifetime’s protest. As the car filled with pro-Palestine demonstrators, one protester jokingly remarked to the car, “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist. This is your chance to get out,” a nod to the density of pro-Palestine protesters on the subway train. This remark was reinterpreted by the mayor as a threat, with calls to identify the protester and a spokesperson for the mayor stating, “Threatening New Yorkers based on their beliefs is not only vile, it’s illegal and will not be tolerated.”
Claims of antisemitism where there is little to no evidence of that being the case actively hinder the fight against antisemitism and prejudicial hate more broadly. As Rosenfeld notes, “The hair trigger tendency to take a maximalist interpretation of what is antisemitic, including glossing over some material facts, means that you can easily lose your demand for sympathy on a technicality.”
That Biden has elevated these claims speaks to either a corrupted game of outrage telephone, or intentionally disingenuous misframing to denigrate protests that rightfully criticize his policies on Gaza. Regardless, we will likely see people with an incentive to neutralize protests for Palestine leap on this opportunity, issuing a new round of policies to crack down on constitutionally protected First Amendment activity.
New York Mayor Eric Adams is advocating for a ban on wearing masks on public transit in New York City, jumping on the bandwagon of New York State’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.
Hochul argued Thursday that face masks, once touted as lifesaving tools by the government, are now the illicit tools of protesters.
Hours later, during a radio interview on 77 WABC’s Cats & Cosby, host Rita Cosby reiterated Hochul’s comment that protesters might be using masks to hide their identities, and asked Adams what he thought about a mask ban on New York City’s subways.
“First of all, that’s what cowards do. Cowards hide their face. Dr. King did not hide his face when he marched and for the things he thought were wrong in the country. Those civil rights leaders did not hide their faces. They stood up. In contrast to that, the Klan hid their faces. Cowards hide their faces when they want to do something disgraceful,” said Adams. It’s probably worth noting that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for his advocacy.
“In our transit system, people have hid under the guise of wearing a mask for Covid to commit criminal acts and vile acts. I think now is the time to go back to the way it was pre-Covid, where you should not be able to wear a mask at protests and our subway systems and other places,” Adams continued.
Prohibiting pro-Palestininan protesters from wearing masks on public transit will make it significantly easier for them to be targeted and tracked by the New York Police Department, which has shown a distinctly violent and outsize reaction to organizing efforts over the past few months.
What was once a mandated safety precaution has become a roadblock to police surveillance, and for that reason alone, it has to go—sending a clear message to the many immunocompromised New Yorkers who would be directly affected that their wellbeing is less important than a well-functioning police state. The NYPD and Adams have already moved to prohibit NYC residents from wearing masks in stores.
Hochul’s and Adams’s insistence on equating pro-Palestinian protesters, and their safety precautions, with violent antisemitic rhetoric could also have incredibly dangerous repercussions to those who wish to safely and peacefully oppose Israel’s U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza.