Donald Trump responded to the massive Tax Day protests calling for the release of his tax returns by tweeting an open and explicit threat to the First Amendment.
All over the country this weekend, there were massive Tax Day Marches calling for Donald Trump to release his tax returns, demonstrations which numbered in the tens of thousands.
Trump responded in the most Donald Trump fashion possible: On Twitter, with a lie, with a threat to the First Amendment, and with an abuse of his office:
Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
Set aside the rich irony of Trump, who recounts his electoral victory at every opportunity, trying to remind anyone that “the election is over,” or the lie that the protests were “small.”
Trump’s Easter message is disturbing because it explicitly suggests that peaceful, constitutionally-protected protest should be investigated by “someone,” a frightening command coming from a person with the full weight of the federal government behind him.
This is not Trump’s first attack on the First Amendment, and it likely will not be his last.
If there is one message Trump should take away from these protests, it is that the election may, indeed, be over, but the resistance has just begun. And his threats will not change that.