About that. “A Who’s Who of the American Right is behind all of this,” online extremism expert Melissa Ryan writes. “The protest in Michigan, which I believe is the largest we’ve seen to date, was organized by a right-wing group funded by the DeVos family. Three of the largest Facebook groups are run by the “Dorr Brothers, The Convention of States is hosting an interactive map called Open the States, tracking which states are planning protests and are linking to those groups’ Facebook pages. The organization’s head is Tea Party co-founder Mark Meckler.”
And while Trump was, as Haberman reports, saying that “These are people expressing their views. They seem to be very responsible people to me” and they’ve been treated “rough,” online extremists were talking about violence, starting to “speculate whether the president was advocating for armed conflict, an event they’ve termed ‘the boogaloo,’ for which many far-right activists have been gearing up and advocating since last year,” NBC News reported. There were more than 1,000 tweets about “the boogaloo” on Twitter immediately following Trump’s “LIBERATE” tweets, and some got hundreds of retweets, according to NBC News.
Haberman’s focus is on what Trump’s doing here, and she understands who he is as a personality—“Hurtling from one position to another” and “nursing grievances” and “most comfortable raging against the machine of government, even when he is the one running the country.” She also cites two unnamed “people close to” Trump who “said they thought the protests could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump, while acknowledging there might be public health risks.” But by not acknowledging either the level of organization behind the protests or the true threat of violence Trump is encouraging, she and her editors at The New York Times do readers a major disservice.