Law enforcement across the U.S. should “pay attention” to former President Trump’s calls for his supporters to protest in the event of his arrest this week, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said Sunday.
Kelly stated that Trump’s supporters have a First Amendment right to peacefully protest, but he argued that police should be prepared to ensure that demonstrations don’t turn violent. Trump claimed on Saturday that New York authorities may be planning to arrest him this week following an indictment related to his relationship with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
“The [former] president’s supporters, they have First Amendment rights, and they should be able to exercise those peacefully,” Kelly said during a Sunday appearance on CNN. “I think it’s gonna be important for law enforcement to pay attention to, you know, protests and make sure it doesn’t rise to the level of violence.”
Trump urged his supporters to “protest” and “take our nation back” in messages many have compared to his statements prior to the pro-Trump storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Capitol Hill Police did not respond to a request for comment on whether they are aware of any protests planned in the event of Trump’s arrest.
Democrats on Capitol Hill blasted Trump for a Saturday morning social media post that urged his supporters to take action if he is arrested.
“NOW ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS, INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!, [sic]” Trump posed to his Truth Social account.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was among to first to attack Trump on Saturday.
“The former president’s announcement this morning is reckless: doing so to keep himself in the news & to foment unrest among his supporters,” Pelosi tweeted. “He cannot hide from his violations of the law, disrespect for our elections and incitements to violence. Rightfully, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable.”
Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York echoed Pelosi, arguing Trump was attempting to “fan the flames” of violence.
“We live in a democracy,” wrote Jeffries. “Right-wing extremists who fan the flames of political violence with inflammatory rhetoric are not fit to serve. American values over autocracy.”