Donald Trump is a white terrorist. This is true in both the literal sense and on a more metaphorical level. As part of Trump’s coup plot he incited his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. It’s also true that throughout his presidency and beyond, Trump and his agents have used the propaganda tactic known as “stochastic terrorism” — in which a leader encourages violence while maintaining vaguely plausible deniability.
This is part of a larger pattern of behavior. Trump’s behavior and rhetoric repeatedly emphasize destruction, violence, conspiracy theories, apocalyptic imagery and threats of other dire outcomes if he and his neofascist movement are not returned to power.
Trump effectively channels the ways that whiteness, which was invented with European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, has functioned as a force of terror, violence, intimidation and existential threat against Black and brown people all over the world. One of Trump’s favorite tactics is white victimology. His ability to frighten white people about their personal and collective safety — and to present himself as their protector and savior — is one of his greatest powers.
As shown in a recent fundraising email, Donald Trump is using that dark and evil power to great effect. That email begins with the ominous phrase, “We regret to inform you…”, which is familiar to too many Americans who have lost family members and other loved ones in service to their country. Those words, however, simply direct users to a site where Trump solicits donations for his fascist campaign — or, just as likely, his PAC and legal defense fund.