A few days ago, the FBI conducted an unannounced search on Mar-a-Lago, the “Southern White House” of former President Donald Trump. They opened one of his safes and, according to foreign media reports, took away 12 boxes of materials.
Many speculated that Democratic President Joe Biden took this step to prevent Trump from running for president again in 2024. To challenge a second run by Trump, Biden might use the Department of Justice to prosecute him for conspiring to overthrow the government, which would thwart his candidacy and likelihood of success.
However, Biden has already said he had no prior knowledge that there would be a Mar-a-Lago search. When he was questioned by the media, he used his thumb and index finger to make the sign for “zero” clearly expressing he had zero knowledge of it.
This means that President Biden has not used his executive power to get involved with the Department of Justice’s investigation and respects the department’s authority. Still, many believe that, in the face of difficult midterm elections, in districts where Trump has supported candidates who have won primaries, hurting Trump might benefit Democrats by boosting morale in the party. Thus, Democrats have applauded the Mar-a-Lago search and think it will help Democratic candidates win in the midterms and help Biden’s bid for reelection.
Is the Mar-a-Lago search related to the storming of the Capitol in 2021 by 2,000-3,000 Proud Boys, during which five people died and more than 100 were injured? Although the authorities have not said as much, we can speculate that there is likely a link between the two.
On Jan. 6, 2021, before Congress had convened to certify the Electoral College votes, Trump refused to concede, asserting that Biden stole the election. Previously, he publicly called on the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” which many interpreted as a call to take special action to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election. Congress called a special committee to investigate the attack, but hearings did not actually begin until this June. So far, several leaders of the Proud Boys suspected of conspiring to overthrow the government have been prosecuted.
The origin of the Proud Boys mainly stems from American exceptionalism — the idea that the U.S. is a unique and great country. This idea fits well with Trump’s “America First” approach. Moreover, Trump is beset by male chauvinism , which inspires him to look down on those who are weak, challenge strongmen such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, and disdain small African nations, which he once described as “shithole countries.” All of this is fits with the ultra-male chauvinistic and racist Proud Boys group. In fact, most Proud Boys are Trump supporters: One of their leaders visited the White House, and they are willing to let Trump use them. Logically, it is easy to link Trump and the attack on the Capitol by the Proud Boys.
On top of this, when Trump left the White House, he took more than 20 boxes of documents including presidential emails, letters and manuscripts. Whether these contain concrete evidence that he was involved with the storming of the Capitol remains to be seen. We have to wait for the results of the investigation and whether Trump will be charged with conspiracy and treason. This will be a long process. Currently, it is impossible to surmise whether Biden will be reelected or whether Trump will be able to run again in 2024.
After the search at Mar-a-Lago, Trump admitted that he had taken files from the White House, although he hasn’t clarified whether the files were classified or what they contained.
We can safely say that part two of the 2020 presidential drama is just beginning. The 2024 election might be part three, in which case it may be more engrossing than some movie box office hits.
Most believe that the Proud Boys have become protagonists in the U.S. election story because of the fear experienced by the middle and lower classes: fear that they will be oppressed and exploited, that they will never be able to live the idyllic family life we saw in “The Little Rascals.” And they engender a xenophobic fear that immigrants from those lowly “shithole countries” will bring down America. So, the Proud Boys have chosen to engage in a violent and antisocial movement. The Proud Boys and Trumpism are both believed to be forms of extreme right-leaning conservatism, which very possibly might lead to authoritarian fascism!
As I write, I regret to say that while Taiwan doesn’t have any Proud Boys, it has Hot Taiwanese Girls (a term originally from a pop song but that now has political connotations), who have aroused hatred within Taiwanese society through their extreme opposition to the Communist Party of China. They also deeply fear a forceful reunification by the CPC and endanger our lives. In addition to disdain for the rule of Chiang Kai-shek, all of this has provoked a political hatred of mainlanders that’s similar to the Proud Boys’ hatred of Jews and immigrants. (Mainlanders are also immigrants to Taiwan, in this view.) From this perspective, if the Proud Boys plus Trumpism equals moving toward authoritarian fascism, endangering the existence of a free democracy, then the Hot Taiwanese Girls are similar. They constantly stir feelings of hatred on the part of the chinese and Taiwanese and control freedom of speech. Their movement toward authoritarian fascism endangers Taiwan’s free democracy.