A major terrorism trial began last week in a Kansas federal court involving religious extremists who wanted to kill hundreds of people on U.S. soil using machine guns and explosives in the hopes of starting, in essence, a holy war.
If you are wondering why Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted even once about this, the answer is simple: These accused terrorists are white Christians. Add to that, they are Trump fans.
The defendants in this case, Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright, and Curtis Allen, were charged in the fall of 2016 after an eight month FBI investigation with plotting a massive terrorist attack on U.S. soil. These three man called themselves “The Crusaders,” as in Christian crusaders. And just like their namesake, these men were waging a holy war versus Muslims. However, this war wasn’t going take place in the Holy Land, but against Somali Muslim immigrants living in Garden City, Kansas.
As federal prosecutor Risa Berkower argued in her opening statement on Thursday, the three “wanted to send the message Muslims are not welcomed here—not in Garden City, not in Kansas, not in America.” And to this end they came up with a bone chilling plan.
These three white supremacists plotted with military precision a terrorist attack against the local Muslim American community that would slaughter everyone there, including the children, in the hopes it would “wake people up” and inspire others to take up arms and slaughter Muslims living in our country.
The three “brainstormed various methods of attack, including murder, kidnapping, rape, and arson” that was all recorded by an undercover FBI agent. And this was far more than the rantings of anti-Muslim bigots. They engaged in extensive reconnaissance by mapping out with maps and photos the possible places they wanted to attack.
Finally they decided on attacking an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, that was populated primarily by Muslim immigrants. One of the apartments served as the community’s mosque.
As Stein, the apparent leader, was recorded as saying, “The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim,” adding, “If you’re a Muslim, I’m going to enjoy shooting you in the head.” Stein suggested “kicking in the doors of the Somali apartments, and kill[ing] them one by one.” The three defendants even spoke of raping the Muslim women and killing Muslim children in the apartment complex.
Stein was a big Trump fan, publicly praising him while slamming Hillary Clinton on Facebook in the lead up to the 2016 election. In fact, Stein spoke of dipping bullets in pig’s blood before shooting the Muslims. If that sounds familiar that’s because it’s the same story Trump told countless times on the campaign trial when he recounted the debunked tale of Gen. John Pershing dipping bullets in pigs blood before shooting Islamic terrorists as an effective way to stop “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Another defendant, Allen, had planted a “Make America Great Again” sign on his front lawn during the campaign. He had also complained to neighbors about “Crooked Hillary,” demonized Muslims and vented that Somalis where “taking all of our jobs.”
These three men didn’t want to just kill some Muslims, they wanted to “exterminate” them, referring to Muslims as “cockroaches.” “If I could get ahold of a warthog [an A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft] or an Apache helicopter, I would be after that, too,” Stein stated per the court records.
What the three settled on to carry out their terror plot was 300 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the same raw material Timothy McVeigh used in 1995 to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City. They would then fill two cargo vans with this explosive material and park both in the parking lots of the apartment complex, later detonating them to slaughter the Muslim immigrants living there.
But before they could carry out their terrorist plot, they were arrested after one of them delivered the 300 pounds of fertilizer to an undercover FBI agent who the men believed was going to help them transform the substance into a bomb.
Trump did not make these men hate Muslims. It’s clear their views on Islam and Muslims pre-date Trump’s campaign. But Trump has emboldened them and others like them with his openly anti-Muslim rhetoric. It was in December 2015 that Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That’s exactly what these defendants wanted. The difference is the defendants were planning on using violence, not government policy, to send the message that Muslims are not welcomed in the United States.
There’s no doubt other Trump supporters share the view that Muslims should be banned from the United States—after all 65 percent of GOP primary voters in 2016 were on board the total Muslim ban. That helps explain why the defendants’ lawyers in this case made a motion to the judge to add more people to the pool of prospective jurors who lived in the more rural western part of the state. While Kansas is a red state, the rural western part is even redder and heavily went for Trump.
As the defendants’ lawyer wrote in that motion, this case in their view is “uniquely political” because much of the evidence will relate to the 2016 election. The judge denied their motion.
Add to that, the defense lawyers, taking another page from Trump, are attacking the FBI. In this case, the lawyers claim that it was FBI wrongdoing, namely entrapment, that unfairly persuaded the defendants to go along with the terrorist plot.
The trial will continue for the next six weeks. If convicted the defendants face life in jail. And if that happens, you can forget Trump slamming these men as terrorists. Based on Trump’s track record, it’s more likely he would praise them as “fine people” before using the word “terrorist” to describe his white supremacist supporters.