IRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — War-like imagery has begun spreading in Republican circles after the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters, with some elected officials and party leaders rejecting pleas to tone down rhetoric calling for a second civil war.
In northwestern Wisconsin, the chairman of the St. Croix County Republican Party was forced to resign Friday after refusing for a week after the siege to remove an online post urging followers to “prepare for war.” The incoming chairwoman of the Michigan GOP and her husband, a state lawmaker, have joined a conservative social media site created after the Capitol riot where the possibility of civil war is a topic.
Phil Reynolds, a member of the GOP central committee in California’s Santa Clara County, appeared to urge on insurrectionists on social media during the Jan. 6 attack, declaring on Facebook: “The war has begun. Citizens take arms! Drumroll please….. Civil War or No Civil War?”
The heightened rhetoric mimics language far-right extremists and white supremacists have used for years, and it follows a year of civil unrest over the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer and its links to systemic racism. Some leftists have used similar language, which Republicans have likened to advocating a new civil war.
The post-Floyd demonstrations prompted governments and corporations alike to reevaluate, leading to the removal of Confederate symbols across the South and the retirement of racially insensitive brands.
Then on Jan. 6, demonstrators stoked by Trump’s false claims that he won the 2020 election brought symbols of the Old South to the siege of the Capitol, carrying Confederate flags inside and even erecting a wooden gallows with a noose outside the building.
Democrats say the uptick in war talk isn’t accidental. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Trump began putting his supporters in the frame of mind to make the opening charge years ago and is “capable of starting a civil war.”
“Since his first day in office, this president has spent four years abusing his power, lying, embracing authoritarianism (and) radicalizing his supporters against democracy,” she said in arguing for impeachment. “This corruption poisoned the minds of his supporters, inciting them to willingly join with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and paramilitary extremists in a siege of the United State Capitol building, the very seat of American democracy.”
There are parallels between now and the run-up to the Civil War, including a fractious national election that ended with presidents — Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Joe Biden in 2020 — who millions rejected as illegitimate victors, said Nina Silber, co-president of the Society of Civil War Historians.
Lincoln won the Electoral College but came away with only a plurality of the popular vote in a four-way race. Biden won the popular vote by 7 million over Trump and defeated him decisively in the Electoral College, 306 to 232. Dozens of lawsuits by Trump and his allies seeking to overturn the results failed, some of them turned away by federal judges Trump himself nominated. Then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department could find no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the election’s outcome.
While the same geographic split doesn’t exist today as when the Civil War started in 1861 and there is no mass preparation for all-out conflict, Silber said white anger and resentment fueled both eras.
“At the time of the Civil War, this took the form of Southern white men angry at the idea that the federal government would interfere with their right to own Black slaves. Today, I think this takes the form of white people who believe that Black and brown people are making gains, or getting special treatment, at their expense,” Silber, who teaches at Boston University, said in an email interview.
Just as happened generations ago, partisans are using strident words and images to define the other side — not just for policies with which they disagree but as evil, said George Rable, a retired historian at the University of Alabama.
“I think both then and now, we need to worry about the unanticipated consequences of overheated rhetoric and emotions,” he said. “Secessionists then hardly anticipated such a bloody civil war, and their opponents often underestimated the depth of secessionist sentiment in a number of states.”
State Rep. Tim Butler, a Springfield Republican who represents the same area as Lincoln did in the state legislature, condemned the attack on the Capitol during a speech on the Illinois House floor and urged more Republicans to speak up.
“If you’re not stepping up and denouncing this, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I don’t have a place for you …,” Butler said. “The favorite son of this city was murdered because of a civil war as he was president. I’m not going to see a civil war on my watch, I can tell you that.”
The question is whether those stoking the war talk can be controlled by the more moderate elements within the party, or whether they will become the dominant voice.
Randy Voepel, a state Assemblyman in California, backtracked after referencing an earlier war — the American Revolution — in a Jan. 9 San Diego Union-Tribune article: “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear in on January 20th.”
More than three dozen veterans and officials have called for Voepel to be expelled from office. He has since revised his war-like rhetoric with a condemnation of the “violence and lawlessness” at the Capitol and a call for healing.
The other California Republican, Reynolds, said he has no plans to step down from his local party position. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he wasn’t trying to incite violence with his “war has begun” rhetoric, but simply reporting what he saw on television: “My statement was that this can’t happen. I was condemning it with my words. It was taken out of context,” he said.
Democratic state Assemblyman Evan Low isn’t buying it. He called for Reynolds’ resignation, telling the Chronicle that the man he has known for two decades was “a genuine and warm human being” but was radicalized by Trump’s “poison and lies.”
In Missouri, state GOP Chairwoman Jean Evans had enough of the war talk. She resigned after she was barraged by calls from Trump supporters, some of whom demanded a military coup to keep Trump in office “no matter what it takes.”
“There’s a lot of good Republicans right now who totally disagree with what’s going on,” she told KMOX. “It’s been very scary and frightening and un-American from my perspective, and definitely not part of the conservative party I embrace.”
Andrew Hitt, the Republican chairman in Wisconsin, faced off against the St. Croix County party without initial success, describing the call to war as an “ill chosen phrase” and urging its removal.
Despite his plea and those of Democrats and a Republican sheriff, the post remained defiantly in place until a week after the Capitol attack. The website went dark Wednesday without explanation, and the county GOP chairman, John Kraft, resigned on Friday. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Silber, the Civil War historian, said she is worried the attack on the Capitol wasn’t the last stand for enraged Trump supporters.
“I think we can see how well-organized right-wing militia groups have become and how well armed they are, and that makes for an extremely explosive situation,” she said. “I don’t know if that would be ‘war’ in the technical sense, but there could be an extended period of violent attacks.”
Carr Smyth reported from Columbus, Ohio. Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis.; David Eggert in Lansing, Mich.; John O’Connor in Springfield, Ill.; and Don Thompson in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.
The various apparitions throughout the world have revealed the need to return to Christ through the confession of sin, the recitation of the Rosary, and a sincere piety toward the Holy Eucharist. Several messages were sent to humanity to warn of Communism and practical atheism invading the world and societies.
Historically in the United States, America has broadcast Communism as an evil political force. Today the devil isn’t going head-to-head through a big political show, but is introducing Communism subtlety and slowly into all of society through ideology. This is why we’ve arrived at laws for euthanasia, for instance. Administrators relay that we will save money, but the source of this thinking comes from Communistic ideology in which a person is no longer a person, but an object useful for the commonwealth until the time he becomes ineffective—and then he is out.
The perversion and blasphemies of men against God and against life, in all its forms, have multiplied to such an extent that purification is now necessary.
This was so difficult for God to tell me and the world.
Renew your consecration to the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary! All those who have taken home the Holy Family and the Christmas crib will be protected. Be careful to keep your heart alive by cherishing all the wonders the Lord has done for you throughout your life.
A great darkness advances on the world, and soon the eyes of the children of God will see how the Earth is defiled by sin. Souls are raining into hell. God will visit His people.
One must be in a state of grace to receive salvation. May those who are not baptized request Holy Baptism for the salvation they hope for. May those who are baptized rediscover a state of grace, if they have lost it through their sin. Be sure, this year, to make a general confession by taking up the commandments of God as the light of your lives, and confessing all of your sins committed or omitted.
Resume the prayer of the Rosary. Pray with the Word of God. Keep fasting, if it is possible, on Wednesdays and Fridays for the salvation of sinners. To the Apostolic Fraternity of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, I remind you that the charism of healing and liberation is exercised first by fasting and prayer.
To all, I say, “Be faithful!” Do not be misled by the false doctrines of the devil. Pray to the angels of God, who are your guardians and protectors. Ask the intervention of the heavenly armies at this time, which is yours. You will see the power of God unfold in weakness. I and all the angels with me are here to defend you and shield you from the assaults of the evil one.
The blessing of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit accompany you.
From now on, the hour is coming and the day is near when we will see the salvation of God. Be careful! Today, more than ever, we pray with the Mother of God for the apostles of the last days to rise!
Thank you for responding to the Lord’s call.
—St. Michael, the Archangel
The time to come is not the end of the world. Please put that in your head. What is approaching is the end of a troubled time, which we are now entering. [Fr. Michel calls this period before the Warning, the minor tribulation, and the time after the Warning, The Tribulation.] It will end, as the Virgin Mary promised us in Fatima, with her glorious Triumph, and peace will flourish throughout the Earth:
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph. . . and a period of peace will be given to the world.”
The Father explained to me that when Jesus died, He died not only for our salvation, but He renewed everything. In this coming era of peace, we will have a new heaven and a new Earth, made new with the gift of the redemption of Jesus Christ. He will purify this world, and all of creation will be under His glorious name.
But Satan will come back. [Fr. Michel said that this would happen after three generations.] Only after his return will it be the end of the world: the last judgment, the Second Coming, when the Triumph of the Heart of Jesus, the King of the Universe, will be made manifest.
The times are urgent. The Tribulation will come, and it will be soon. We are in a time of emergency. When the Father gave me the fraternity, He asked me to build it quickly because it will be a refuge for many priests who will come there. Much of what you will witness will be orchestrated by the devil. You will see people fighting against each other for a political reason. The persecution of Christians, which has already begun, person to person through ridicule and accusation, will come from laws that are lawlessness. You will not be able to follow these laws in good conscience, so persecution will then fall under civil authority.
An ecumenical Mass will be introduced in the Church. It will be formulated by different religious heads, first, in a committee. As a final step, it will be proposed to Rome, to the pope. A document by Pope Francis, Magnum Principium, went into effect on October 1 of 2017, which gave authority to national bishops’ conferences to include new terms or prayers in the rite of the Mass for their countries. Many countries are now caught up in sins of matrimony and have already deviated from the path of the Lord. If synods of bishops in these countries have the authority to make an altered rite of the Mass, you can be sure they will bring something wrong to the pope. If the pope doesn’t sign their proposals, which means rejecting what he has already given them the power to do, what will happen? Schism, which is one of the things that we will soon see in the Church.
Rome will just sign the paper because they will feel that all the authority has been given to the bishops to make those changes in their own country. This doesn’t mean it will be the pope who accepts the document.
You will be able to discern that the Mass is ecumenical because the words of the consecration will not be the same. You are not to attend these so-called “Masses.” You would be better off eating a soda cracker because the bread will still be bread. It will not be consecrated. This will be the first sign from the temple. The Church is now entering into the tomb, and it will pass through the same steps of Jesus, Himself. We are not better than the Master; we are only His followers.
The Antichrist is in the hierarchy of the church right now, and he has always wanted to sit in the Chair of Peter. Pope Francis will be like Peter, the apostle. He will realize his errors and try to gather the Church back under the authority of Christ, but he will not be able to do so. He will be martyred. Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, who still wears his papal ring, will step in to convene a council, attempting to save the Church. I saw him, weak and frail, held up on either side by two Swiss guards, fleeing Rome with devastation all around. He went into hiding, but then was found. I saw his martyrdom.
I had a meeting with my bishop recently. A priest was there, and I was talking about the signs of the last times that point to our times, and the priest said, “No, no, no. In the 13th century, this bad thing was happening, and in the 18th century, that bad thing was happening. . .”
“Yes, I know of these things, too, of course,” I said. “Bad things have always happened, but I’m not talking about the 13th century, or the 18th century, I am talking about universal signs. Signs of the times.” When you talk a little bit about these end times, people always point to a time in the Church when things were difficult. Yes, things were difficult in one country, but not in another. Now, things are worse, not only in one country, but everywhere in the world.
The Church has gone through times of great trouble in the past, but we have never seen so much darkness in the Catholic Church. The Protestant Church will also enter the tomb because they, too, are Christian, and the devil is working everywhere to kill and destroy the faith. This is the difference. This is the sign of our times. Whoever has ears to hear, hear! Who has eyes to see, see!