Trump calls for protests ahead of ‘arrest,’ slams George Soros again
As he prepares for possible indictment in NY probe, ex-president targets progressive megadonor at the center of myriad antisemitic conspiracy theories, drawing Jewish concern
WASHINGTON (JTA) — “They’re coming for me,” Donald Trump said in a fundraising email to his supporters, and he immediately made clear who “they” were: “district attorneys hand-picked and personally funded by George Soros.”
The email, sent late Monday, came a day ahead of when, Trump claims, he is likely to be arrested. He says he will be charged for allegedly paying off a paramour to keep quiet about their sexual encounter, and has sent a flurry of appeals calling for protests.
And those appeals have also named a villain: Soros, the Jewish billionaire and progressive megadonor who is at the center of myriad antisemitic conspiracy theories.
In a post in nearly all-caps on his website, Truth Social, on Saturday, Trump railed against the “CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS.”
In that post, Trump also returned to another motif of his with an ominous history. He ended by telling supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
To some, that statement recalled Trump’s tweets more than two years ago, when he urged protesters to come to a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
Jewish groups who track antisemitism and Jewish security say they are keeping an eye on Trump’s latest calls for protests, but note that so far those posts have not attracted the groundswell of support that followed his past appeals. Trump’s 2021 post touted a rally that culminated in violence — the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said organized extremists, who have heeded Trump’s calls in the past, are displaying wariness online this time, fearful of being drawn into a trap. A number of them are preoccupied with the aftermath of January 6, as some of their members are being prosecuted for their roles in the riot.
Other groups, Segal said, are preoccupied with this year’s culture wars. “Proud Boys are busy protesting drag queen story hours,” he said, referring to one of the groups implicated in a number of violent protests.
Michael Masters, CEO of the Secure Community Network, the consultancy to the national Jewish community, likewise said his group was not seeing any imminent plans for violence. “We are not seeing anything specific to the Jewish community with respect to recent calls or amplification of calls for protests,” Masters said in a text message.
Nonetheless, Trump’s constant invocation of Soros raises concerns, Segal said, especially given reports of substantive spikes in antisemitic attacks.
“The danger of referencing Soros in a call for protests like this, is that you never know what bad actors are interpreting that as,” Segal said. “It’s not unreasonable for the Jewish community, who feels particularly vulnerable, to hear that in a way that is uncomfortable as well.”
Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and financier, has been at the center of countless conspiracy theories for decades, and was the target of a 2018 bomb scare carried out by a pro-Trump antisemitic attacker. He featured prominently in the conspiracy theories embraced by the gunman who massacred 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.
Bragg is among a number of liberal prosecutors backed in recent election cycles by Color of Change, a political action committee that Soros has funded. He was the largest donor to the group in the most recent election cycle, giving it $1 million out of the $4 million it raised.
It’s not at all clear that Bragg is ready to bring charges, or what charges he would bring against Trump. Speculation about a pending arrest has come only from Trump, and after he predicted the arrest over the weekend, one of his spokesmen quickly walked it back, saying that the Trump camp had no new information.
Trump is lashing out as multiple investigations into him appear to be intensifying, including by state officials in Georgia into election interference and by federal authorities into the role he played in spurring the Jan. 6 violence by rioters who believed his falsehoods about the 2020 election and into his alleged mishandling of highly classified documents.
He also is under pressure from a Republican Party that includes members endeavoring to distance themselves from his myriad scandals, even as he seeks the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
One possible crime Bragg might be investigating is whether Trump falsified records to cover up his payment to Daniels, which was made through his former lawyer Michael Cohen.
Trump’s mentions of Alvin Bragg — the Manhattan district attorney investigating his preelection payoff to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress — seem to constantly come with invocations of Soros.
In a post late Monday on Truth Social, he suggested he did not believe the NYPD would take orders from Bragg, should he ask them “TO PUT THEIR GREATEST CHAMPION & FRIEND IN PRISON FOR A CRIME THAT DOESN’T EXIST … ALL THE WHILE THE SOROS ALLOWS MURDERERS AND OTHER VIOLENT CRIMINALS TO FREELY ROAM THE SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK?”
Trump is hardly the only Republican invoking Soros. Trump’s likely rival for the 2024 Republican nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also mentioned Soros and Bragg in remarks on Monday, while getting a dig in at Trump.
“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair, I just, I can’t speak to that,” DeSantis said. “But I do know this, the Manhattan district attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor.”