Accused MAGA Bomber Cesar Sayoc, center

The not-so-hidden hand of hate: GOP complicity, Trump partisan incitement to violence and desperate attempts to divert the blame in the bomb-terrorism against Trump’s perceived “enemies.”

Donald J. Trump is reaping the harvest of hate speech and divisive incitements he has sown for two years in America. The man who is now arrested in connection with bomb packages sent to Democratic leaders, CNN and other prominent Trump critics may indeed face the punishment for these heinous acts of nationwide political terrorism, but the responsibility reaches far beyond him.

Trump and the GOP will bob and weave, deflect and distort in order to deny any blame for this national shame. But their rhetorical fingerprints are all over these bombs and the fear they have engendered.

The alleged bomber’s white van, covered in GOP-supportive stickers, pro-Trump paraphernalia and even a photo of Trump’s face superimposed on the presidential seal, is now in the possession of the FBI. This is damning circumstantial evidence of the partisan influence of Trump and his enablers upon the actions of this alleged bomber. Any prosecutor would see the propaganda on this van as clear motive for crimes committed by its owner: to punish the “enemies” of his leader, President Trump.
As a writer and researcher on the connection between hate-mongers who dodge the blame for the violence they incite against LGBTQ victims, I can assert with confidence that Trump’s continual incitement to carry out physical violence against his critics is directly responsible for the crimes committed in his name.

In the case of anti-LGBTQ hate-incited crimes — physical attacks, assault, torture and cold-blooded murder — homophobic religious zealots to a person denied any responsibility for inciting others to harm innocent gay, lesbian, bisexual,and transgender people. But their responsibility is undeniable, just as is Trump’s in this case.

The not-so-hidden hand of hate belongs to others, to be sure. But Donald J. Trump’’ guilty hand is chief among them all. He will likely try to avoid all the responsibility for these terroristic acts that he can. It will remain for us, the American people, to hold Trump and his GOP enablers to account at the ballot box for what they are doing to us all.

Stephen V. Sprinkle is professor of Practical Theology, and has held the office of director of field education and supervised ministry since 1994 at Brite Divinity School, located on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and books, including Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims.