Millions of people across the United States actually believe MyPillow guy Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell and other Donald Trump supporters who say that the former president soon will be magically “reinstated” and Joe Biden will be shown the exit door from the White House. Obviously that cannot and will not happen.
But the widespread amplification of that conspiracy theory, including by Trump himself, has generated concerns at the Department of Homeland Security. According to Politico, the department’s top counterterrorism official, John Cohen, told members of the House Committee on Homeland Security in a members-only, closed-door briefing that “reinstatement” is on the DHS radar.
In the briefing, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) reportedly asked Cohen how DHS is following the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories, especially how they can lead to violence. She specifically brought up the conspiracy theory claiming Trump will be reinstated as president in August.
Cohen said replied that at this time his department is not aware of any specific, credible threats of violence linked to the conspiracy theory about Trump being reinstated. But he added that DHS is monitoring discussion of the topic online among extremist communities. And he said department officials are highly concerned about it because it fuels the false narrative that the election was rigged — a narrative that may trigger a violent response from extremists.
Those concerns could be amplified in the coming days as Trump begins holding large MAGA-style rallies, the first of which is this weekend just outside of Cleveland. That rally is intended to show Trump’s support for longtime aide-turned-Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, who is running to unseat Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. Trump turned on Gonzalez after the Cleveland native and former professional football player voted for the second impeachment of Trump after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrectionist riot on Capitol Hill.
Political observers, however, expect that if Trump follows the pattern of his previous few public remarks post-presidency he also will use the opportunity to continue pushing the stolen election “big lie” and probably to suggest to the gathered crowd that he’s primed and ready to be reinstated to the presidency in August.