MSNBC’s Heilemann: Could Trump Declare ‘Martial Law’ to Stay in Power?

Thursday, MSNBC’s John Heilemann decried President Donald Trump’s handling of violent protests in Portland, OR, and other cities across the United States as the country approaches the 2020 presidential election.

Heilemann on “Morning Joe” highlighted that Trump has been “willing” to use federal police officers on “peaceful demonstrators” since George Floyd’s death and he has set himself up to not accept the upcoming election results if it does not go in his favor. He asked if anybody else “doesn’t think Donald Trump would try to employ martial law” if he thought it was the only way he could remain in office.

“This is what would happen if you were an authoritarian president who was preparing to resist a loss in the election,” warned Heilemann. “You would be saying the things that Donald Trump is saying, and you would be gradually rolling out federal police power into the states against the wishes of the mayors and governors in question. This is how it would happen. This is how the movie would play out.”

He continued, “And anybody who’s not looking at this with a state of alarm and concern and worried about is this president going to employ, formally, martial law, at some point. … Is that on the president’s mind? Is there anybody having watched Donald Trump for the last three and a half years who doesn’t think Donald Trump would try to employ martial law if he thought that was the only way he could stay in power. I ask you, Joe, is there anybody who’s sensible who comes on this show who doesn’t think that that’s possible?”

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