Dear Republican Leaders,
I am writing and open letter to you, in the hopes that you will answer my urgent plea. In recent days, Donald Trump has increased both the frequency and stridency of his suggestions that our presidential election is “rigged.”
Just today, Mr. Trump said the following at a rally in front of thousands of angry, frustrated supporters:
“This whole election is being rigged…The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.”
Almost simultaneously, he tweeted this this:
This disturbing lack of principle leadership is fomenting distrust in the very fabric of our Republic. It has led some Trump followers to call for armed rebellion, should Mr. Trump not win.
For example, Trump supporter Dan Bowman told the Boston Globe last week:
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it…We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”
This kind of rhetoric and thinking cannot stand without clear repudiation. It seems Donald Trump will not do this, and perhaps does not have the moral decency to understand why he should.
In the name of our Republic, and in the name of God, I am calling on Republican leaders everywhere to speak directly to Trump supporters and Republican voters. Assure them that you intend to respect the outcome of the election, and that you expect them to do the same. Remind them that armed insurrection against the duly elected leaders of the nation is seditious and un-American.
Donald Trump seems incapable of doing this simple thing. Democrats and other observers do not have credibility with this specific audience. Only you do. And now is the time to do it.
This goes far beyond partisan politics, and our choices on election day. And, frankly, this far out in an unpredictable election, any election outcome is still possible.
And before this election, I could have never fathomed asking such a thing of you all. But given the continuing rhetoric of Donald Trump, a clear denunciation of violence and armed rebellion against the United States seems a needed remedy.
Throughout the election, people have dismissed Trump’s troubled rhetoric as mere words, failing to realize how those words are stirring up deep and disturbing behaviors on the part of his most fervent supporters. Please do not dismiss this rhetoric now. Take these threat seriously, consider the thoughts of Dan Bowman and scores like him, and do you part to calm the electorate and the American people.
It’s the patriotic thing to do, and the fate of the Republic, and our domestic security may well rest in your hands. You bear a special an unique responsibility in this time. And all of us outside your spheres of influence will continue to speak a similar messages, and support you any way we can.
Thank you for your consideration, and God bless us all in these coming weeks,
Rev. Eric Folkerth