WASHINGTON — After former President Donald Trump was indicted on federal charges last week, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) issued a tweet urging Trump supporters to “buckle up,” in what many found inflammatory.
After all, the former president’s supporters once rioted in the US Capitol to help Trump reverse the 2020 election result. Another lawmaker, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), described the situation as entering a “war phase” and implying that Republicans would take “an eye for an eye.”
But Higgins insisted his message had been misinterpreted.
“President Trump said he was ‘submitted to appear in federal court in Miami at 3 p.m. Tuesday,'” Higgins said wrote on Thursday. “This is an Oppressor perimeter probe. Hold. rPOTUS has that. Buckle up. 1/50,000 know your bridges. Keep Calm and Calm. That’s all.”
In an interview on Tuesday, Higgins, who has law enforcement and military experience and recently manhandled a Liberal protester outside the Capitol, said the term “perimeter probe” described a plan to provoke a reaction from an opponent and expose their strengths and strengths Weaknesses.
“So the point was, I spoke to people who would understand that language to say, ‘Calm down.’ “Don’t go to Miami,” Higgins said, referring to the location where Trump was charged Tuesday, where Trump supporters staged a small protest.
The phrase “1/50k” refers to military scale maps and “Know your bridges” is a somewhat ominous indication of knowledge of important nearby travel routes. Higgins said he used military-sounding rhetoric to grab the attention of military-minded people and validate their feelings — not so they would do something, but so they wouldn’t. At least not yet.
“If you’re trying to communicate with veterans and say, ‘Calm down, yes, this repression is happening — we’re aware of it, but we’re fighting within the parameters of the Constitution, legally and peacefully.’ Do not react to this perimeter probe. Don’t load up with your friends and head to Miami to surround the place. Don’t do that.’”
The tweet drew a lot of attention, prompting Higgins to post one longer statement Its House of Representatives website was far less cryptic Sunday, saying the Justice Department wants to jail Trump supporters who protest violently.
“They want J6 again, in Miami and in your city and in mine. They want MAGA Conservatives to respond to this perimeter probe and thereby expose themselves to targeted pursuit and further capture,” Higgins wrote. “They want to intercept a busload of Conservatives on their way to the protest and foment conflict during the stop. They hope to provoke conservative Americans. Don’t fall into the trap. Entertain your family. Live your life. Live free and pay close attention and make your voice heard, yes…but don’t become the caged pawn in the agenda of DOJ/FBI strategy to suppress conservatives across America.”
The idea that the Justice Department is going after Trump and his supporters is a tenet of belief among Republicans on Capitol Hill, many of whom have embraced the conspiracy theory that federal agents orchestrated the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
Higgins suggested that military and conspiratorial jargon — the word “rPOTUS” is short for “real president of the United States,” terminology that ignores the fact that Joe Biden is the real president — helped his message reached a far larger audience.
“The message should sort of pierce the veil of mainstream media and reach the citizens who might be pushed into overreacting,” he said.
More than 1,000 Trump supporters have been charged with federal crimes over their involvement in the 2021 attack on the Capitol. Therefore, it’s possible that the citizens most vulnerable to overreacting to Trump’s indictment have already been arrested. Trump’s appearance in court on Tuesday went without major disruptions.
For his part, Biggs also said during a radio interview on Tuesday that he wanted people to remain peaceful, not necessarily because it was the right thing to do, but because violence wasn’t strategic.
“You have to be peaceful,” Biggs said. “I don’t want anything to distract from the injustice that’s going on.”