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Kari Lake’s ‘strap on a Glock’ comment illustrates the GOP’s penchant for violent rhetoric

In World
April 17, 2024

Kari Lake appeared to tell a crowd Sunday to arm themselves in preparation for the election — just in case.

Speaking at a rally in Lake Havasu, the Arizona Republican repeatedly warned about a nebulous persecution that she and her supporters will face in the months leading up to the November election. She said she felt veterans and law enforcement officers in the crowd “are ready for it,” NBC News reported.

Lake, who lost the 2022 race for Arizona governor and is now running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, said “the swamp” is fighting her and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, and she suggested that her supporters prepare themselves.

“That’s why they’re coming after us with lawfare; they’re going to come after us with everything. That’s why the next six months is going to be intense,” Lake said, adding: “We’re going to put on our helmet or your Kari Lake ball cap. We are going to put on the armor of God. And maybe strap on a Glock on the side of us, just in case.”

Lake’s comments echo the violent rhetoric that Republicans have seemingly become comfortable with, in large part thanks to Trump, who is fond of employing violent and dehumanizing expressions in his political speeches. Another frequent offender is Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., whom my MSNBC colleague Ja’han Jones has referred to as “a mouthpiece for the conservative movement’s violent fantasies.”

Now, Lake could very well have been speaking hyperbolically; after all, she is not exactly known for speaking mindfully in public. It’s also notable that the “armor of God” rhetoric is common on the Christian right, referring to a verse from Ephesians. (The phrase has been used notably by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the head of the Arizona GOP.) As one expert on religious political extremism explained it to Salon, “The full armor of God, therefore, enables proud resistance to outsiders and assertive advocacy for their own views.” Further, that belief in an impending battle between good and evil “justifies, in their minds, all sorts of extreme behavior and policies.”

Even so, considering the apparent growing support for political violence among conservative voters, such rhetoric — hyperbole or coded metaphor — is reckless at best.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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