MSNBC Analyst Compares Trump Supporters to Terrorists

Eric Schaffer | August 14, 2019
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Hey guys, you remember Frank Figliuzzi? You know, the guy that said Trump putting the flag at half-mast until August 8th was a dog whistle to white supremacists? Yeah, well he’s back with a less conspiratorial, but just as asinine, claim.

While on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, a show known for not checking inflammatory rhetoric, the former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI was asked about Trump’s constant demands for loyalty by Chris Jansing. His answer is… Well, it’s something. 

"Well, this is why it's so important to look through the lens of radicalization when you look at this President and then apply counter-radicalization techniques. Because you're right, attacking his followers is going to be counterproductive," Figliuzzi said. 

"He demands that loyalty and they are loyal. So if you call Trump followers racist en masse, they simply coalesce around each other and become even more defensive and protective of the leader, just as they would in, say, a terrorist organization to compare to the radicalization."

A few things here. One, if you’re going to say Trump supporters are radicals who only become more loyal to the President when broadly attacked, is it really a good idea to compare them to terrorists? It seems that’d probably spur the very behavior Figliuzzi decries.

Second, there are indeed political issues with the MAGA base. I’ve covered it in-depth on my own podcast(s), show appearances, and in personal political conversations. The term Figliuzzi can’t seem to grasp, but is referring to here, is tribalism.

Essentially, tribalism -- politically -- is the idea of loyalty to a party, group or individual over principle and moral sensibilities. It is a way of political living which causes those on both the left and right to excuse the bad behavior of those on their side or ‘their guy’ for the sake of political expediency -- because they can not allow the other side to win.
It’s toxic, detrimental to American civics and an issue with the broader MAGA movement. I could write a whole Op-Ed on this if I had the time (I likely will eventually, anyway). 

But here’s the problem: The MAGA movement is not the only political group in the United States which suffers from extreme cases of tribalism, and it’s certainly not solely an issue of the right. The left suffers from these political ailments as well, if not more so.

Despite my overall contempt for tribalism, 99% of those who practice it in American political life aren’t anywhere close to terrorists. They are people who are often politically inconsistent -- too able to excuse the indecency of their side. But indecency means bad Trump tweets, lies, etc.

It does not mean they practice hateful white supremacy and extremism, or excuse violence that comes as a result of the former. To compare the Americans who support Donald Trump to terrorists is truly deplorable, and the fact MSNBC allows the demonization of fellow Americans to such a degree to go unchallenged is detestable.

But, of course, this is what we have come to expect of the mainstream media.