Trump warns MAGA political opponents of 'the sleeping giant that they have awoken' in belligerent speech at Ohio rally, video shows

Donald Trump speaks in Ohio
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on September 17, 2022.Tom E. Puskar/AP Photo
  • Donald Trump spoke at a rally for JD Vance in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday night.

  • He referred to his political opponents as "thugs and tyrants."

  • Those enemies, Trump said, "have no idea of the sleeping giant they have awoken."

Former President Donald Trump warned his political opponents on Saturday when he spoke at a rally for Republican Senate candidate JD Vance in Youngstown, Ohio.

The "thugs and tyrants" attacking the Make America Great Again movement, he said, "have no idea of the sleeping giant they have awoken."

 

Trump's veiled threat was met with cheers from the crowd, who pointed skywards in an unusual finger salute during another part of hiss speech.

It's not clear who Trump was referring to as "thugs and tyrants." Still, he preceded this warning with reference to opponents who "spy on patriotic parents" and "criminalize political descent."

Trump has used increasingly antagonistic language recently amid the probe into his keeping of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.

At a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, when the former president was stumping for GOP candidates Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano, Trump used similar language to that in his Ohio speech. He branded his enemies "tyrants," adding that they "do not stand a chance," per The Hill.

The Hill noted that the use of this term — "tyrants" — seems to "invite, if not demand, a quasi-revolutionary response from Trump's most fervent supporters" and said it represents a shift in Trump's rhetoric towards an even more belligerent tone.

Trump also called the FBI "vicious monsters" at the Pennsylvania rally, prompting members of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot to say that the former president was using rhetoric that deliberately sought to stir violence.

"Trump is attacking law enforcement and yet again using language he knows will provoke violence," tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney on September 4.

Others have also accused Trump in recent weeks of stoking violence amid the Mar-a-Lago probe, including conservative lawyer George Conway.

Trump moving to paint himself as unfairly persecuted "for no valid reason" carries the risk of inspiring his supporters to engage in violent acts, said Conway during an interview with CNN on Friday.

The former president said there would be "big problems" if he was indicted and is "inciting violence," and it is "basically January 6 all over again," said Conway, per CNN.

The FBI executed a search warrant at the former president's Mar-a-Lago last month, recovering classified records he took from the White House when he left office, per publicly released court records. Over 10,000 government documents were recovered, including some marked "top secret" related to nuclear-related information.

The search warrant, unsealed after the raid, showed it was part of an investigation into whether Trump broke any laws, including a significant facet of the Espionage Act. Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and portrayed the probe as a witch hunt.

Insider contacted Trump's post-presidency office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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