Journalist Ron Suskind has talked with multiple current and former Trump administration officials who say they’re deeply concerned about what President Donald Trump will do the day after the election next week.
In multiple interviews, these officials sketched out a scenario in which Trump would encourage his supporters to disrupt voting in cities in key swing states.
“Disruption would most likely begin on Election Day morning somewhere on the East Coast, where polls open first,” Suskind writes. “Miami and Philadelphia (already convulsed this week after another police shooting), in big swing states, would be likely locations. It could be anything, maybe violent, maybe not, started by anyone, or something planned and executed by any number of organizations, almost all of them on the right fringe, many adoring of Mr. Trump.”
The big danger, these officials tell Suskind, is that early news of unrest at polling places will spark further instances across the country.
“News of even a few incidents could summon a violent segment of Mr. Trump’s supporters into action, giving foreign actors even more to amplify and distribute, spreading what is, after all, news of mayhem to the wider concentric circles of Mr. Trump’s loyalists,” he writes.
Officials then say Trump will claim some kind of “victory” on November 4th even if the vote tallies show him behind.
“If the streets then fill with outraged people, he can easily summon, or prompt, or encourage troublemakers among his loyalists to turn a peaceful crowd into a sea of mayhem,” Suskind writes. “They might improvise on their own in sparking violence, presuming it pleases their leader.”
One FBI official tells Suskind that the agency has been gaming out how it will handle weeks of unrest that could come after the election.
“We’ve been talking to our state and local counterparts and gearing up for the expectation that it’s going to be a significant law-enforcement challenge for probably weeks or months,” this official said. “It feels pretty terrifying.”