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If Trump 'called for violence' from his supporters, 'there would be violence,' extremism expert says

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"I think that is a pretty easy call."

If President Donald Trump "called for violence" from his supporters, extremism expert J.M. Berger said "there would be violence." (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump "called for violence" from his supporters, extremism expert J.M. Berger said, "there would be violence."

Berger made his declaration during an interview with SiriusXMProgress host Dean Obeidallah posted to YouTube on Sunday.

Obeidallah noted his fear that if Trump called for violence "we might see some" — and Berger went a step further.

What did Berger say?

"The presidency is a powerful, powerful bullhorn. It's a powerful pulpit," Berger said, adding that "if he called for violence, there would be violence ... I think that is a pretty easy call ... where that puts him on the sort of spectrum in between extremism and authoritarianism is a little more complicated."

Berger — stopping short of making a "direct comparison" to Trump — said "[Adolf] Hitler had a very well developed extremist ideology that he was advancing. It was very specific," adding that Hitler's beliefs were "fleshed out" in a "lengthy book," presumably "Mein Kampf."

"We don't have that with Trump," Berger noted.

Obeidallah interjected that "we have 'The Art of the Deal,' though. We've got that." Berger, with a chuckle, noted that Trump's iconic '80s book "was much less formed" in comparison.

"I think history will probably end up looking at [Trump] as an authoritarian who attempted to use extremism to his advantage," Berger predicted. "But ... there is still a lot that could happen."

Berger — who was a nonresident fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings — is co-author of "ISIS: The State of Terror" and a new book "Extremism."

This writer's perspective

Berger might be right that Trump supporters would get violent if he called for them to do so. After all, there's some very recent related history we can draw from — when it comes from Democrats, that is.

Who can forget the leftist mob that harassed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his wife in the nation's capital in September, driving them out of a restaurant? The same thing happened to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Attacks on conservatives have gotten physical, too.

And what have prominent Democrats been saying amid it all?

  • Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said "you cannot be civil" with Republicans and that "civility can start again" if the Democrats win back the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, or both.
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder was caught on video flipping the Democratic mantra, "When they go low, we go high," by saying, "No, no. When they go low, we kick them!"
  • U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey urged activists in Washington, D.C., to "go to the Hill" and "get up in the face of some congresspeople."
  • U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California infamously ranted to supporters to "create a crowd" and "push back on" members of Trump's cabinet if they're seen "in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station." She added in her speech, "You tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."

(H/T: Mediaite)

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