A lot of us read this retweet of Robert Jeffress as just another example of Trump carelessly promoting an idea that he knew would agitate those on the Left. 

However it did not read that way to everybody.

Courtesy of Lawfare

Although the president was quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress’s comments on Fox News, he was adopting them as his own.

It might seem tempting to dismiss this language as of a piece with President Trump’s typical Twitter rhetoric. But it is worth paying particular attention to this tweet—because among the people who read it were militia groups enthusiastic about exactly what Trump portended. And while no violence has yet resulted from the president’s tweet, it would be foolish to underestimate the power of Trump’s comments to call rogue militias to action, particularly if there is an impeachment and he continues to use this rhetoric to fan the flames. In the days after his civil war tweet, he went on to use similarly incendiary language, referring to impeachment proceedings as a “COUP.”

This is how the Oath Keepers militia group read that tweet:

Also from Lawfare:

Before this tweet, the Oath Keepers account tweeted that, under the U.S. Constitution, “the militia (that’s us) can be called forth ‘to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.’ … “All he has to do is call us up. We WILL answer the call.” Other Oath Keeper tweets also hint at violence: One states that “their favorite rifle is the AR 15.”

These guys have been itching for a fight ever since we elected Barack Obama in 2008. 

All they need is something they perceive as permission from Trump and we will have exactly what Jeffress suggested in that tweet. 

And I am not at all sure that Donald Trump would be overly concerned if that actually happened on his watch.