National Security ‘Experts’: GOP ‘Behaving Like a Terror Group,’ to Be Viewed ‘as Enemy Combatants’

Terrell Jermaine Starr Headshot
Atlantic Council

Several “national security experts” interviewed for an essay in The Root published on Thursday, attacked the Republican Party, claiming it behaves “like a terror group,” is rife with “terrorist sympathizers,” and should be viewed as “enemy combatants.”

The essay, penned by senior reporter Terrell Jermaine Starr and titled “Democrats Are Stuck With a Republican Party Rife With Conspiracy Theorists, Anarchists and Terrorist Sympathizers,” begins by asserting that the GOP is “authoritarian” and only cares for whites. 

“[W]e have an entire political party that has converted into an authoritarian—albeit Americanized version—style of politics that cares nothing about U.S. democracy or anyone who is not white,” the essay starts. 

Starr then refers to the GOP as “a party of turncoats” for having “basically sat by and said nothing” to counter “lies” reinforced by the former president’s defense lawyers during his impeachment trial last week.

Starr then introduces several national security experts who, he claims, told him “the Republican Party is functioning like a terror cell.”

The experts go on to voice their thoughts on the GOP, former President Donald Trump, and conservatives.

US Navy veteran Pam Keith, who ran as the Democrat nominee for election to the U.S. House to represent Florida’s 18th Congressional District, is quoted as saying that Democrats cannot work with Republicans.

“The only way a country like ours survives is through mutual agreement to set a standard. That’s what the Constitution is. That’s what the rule of law is,” she said. “If you don’t have that, then there’s no incentive to peacefully allow the other sides to exercise power.”

Earlier this month, Keith compared Trump to Osama bin Laden, and in 2019, she openly called for women to stop having sex with conservative men.

According to Keith, the days of compromise are over.

“We still have this delusion of bipartisanship, Keith said. “There’s no fucking bipartisanship. Get off that ship. It does not work. It’s sinking. It’s done. It’s at the bottom of the ocean. It’s the fucking Titanic. It’s down in the water. Let it go.”

Former Marine Corps Infantry officer Kyle Bibby, the national campaign manager at Common Defense, told The Root that if those who took part in the early January riot at Capitol Hill “were in Afghanistan” they would have been hit. 

“We would’ve hit them,” he said. “Either a raid, drop a bomb on them, whatever it is.” 

Ultimately, Bibby claims, it is the Republican Party and conservative media that are responsible.

“But the organizations that are funding this and who are backing this that are creating the political movement behind this are organizations like Fox News, Breitbart, One America News Network, and the Republican Party,” he said. 

“If these organizations existed in another country, we would be sanctioning them. We would be seizing their assets for inciting terroristic threats against an American ally or against U.S. interests.”

According to Pam Campos-Palma, director of Peace & Security at the Working Families Party, “white nationalist violence” like that witnessed during the early January Capitol riot, is “inherent to the GOP, policing and national security institutions.”

Starr then accuses Republicans in Congress of not doing much to quell “right-wing media lies.”

“In fact, they are spreading them,” he writes. 

He claims they do so because they “feel their power is being threatened and the only way to galvanize support for their causes is through lying and scaring people so intensely that they will see lies as truth.” 

Furthermore, Starr writes, the ideal type of supporters Republicans can “groom into ill-informed and lethal insurrectionists and white supremacists who will help you maintain power” are those who will believe the “lies,” adding that this is so even if the enemy — “Black folks and people of color” — may “suffer and/or die as a result.”

According to Malcolm Nance, a national security expert and author, the Republican Party behaves like a terror group and if Trump were to have won the recent presidential election, then “the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Boys, the state militias, all these other groups, are essentially going to become semi-official Brownshirts [the original paramilitary of Germany’s Nazi Party] of the Trump campaign.”

Nance also predicted that if Trump would lose, these same groups “are going to become the Iraq insurgents. They’re going to go underground” and “will resort to armed violence, political standoffs, and terrorism.”

Starr then writes that “Democrats have few options to get to the heart of white terrorism because their Republican colleagues in Congress benefit from it politically.” 

“We have to view the GOP as enemy combatants because, for years, they have proven that Democrats are theirs,” he added.

The essay drew a host of bitter responses on Twitter.

“They actually want to kill Republicans,” wrote commentator Ian Miles Cheong. “Wild.”

“This sounds like an incitement to civil war,” wrote conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. “What a way to talk about half the country! We have not seen this type of rhetoric in this country since 1860.”

“Abandon bipartisanship (understandable!) and treat your political opponents as ‘enemy combatants’ (insane!) Or we could just ‘drop a bomb on them,’ say ‘national security experts,’” wrote journalist Michael Moynihan.

“Nothing dangerous about arguing for droning one of America’s two major political parties,” wrote journalist Dan McLaughlin.

“[I]magine the reaction if someone in a right-wing outlet published an article in which someone casually mentioned dropping a bomb on Democrats,” wrote historian Varad Mehta. “These people are nuts.”

“Just liberal bluechecks saying Republicans should have bombs dropped on them,” wrote one Twitter user. “Paging @TwitterSafety.”

“So, #republicans are to be assassinated, per @TheRoot and a ‘national security experts’? But the @gop are the violent ones?” asked another Twitter user. “#nationaldivorce soon seems to be the only peaceful remedy when @thedemocrats label their opposition as ‘terrorists.’”

“Your periodic reminder that they hate you and want you dead,” wrote another.

“Just a National security expert suggesting bombing republicans,” wrote yet another. “Unity!”

“This inflammatory rhetoric needs to stop,” another Twitter user warned. “This is the type of stuff that gets people killed.”

“This is so insane, dear God,” wrote comedian Sean McCarthy.

The essay comes as some Democrats continue to target conservatives and paint Trump supporters as the worst of criminals, despite having repeated calls for “healing” and “unity.”

Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed addressing the struggle to “resist demands for unity” in the face of acts of “aggressive niceness” on the part of friendly Trump-supporting neighbors who are compared to terror organizations who “offer protection and hospitality” and “polite” Nazis.

In a recent video created by left-wing novelist Don Winslow, citizens are called upon to become cyber detectives to monitor and report fellow citizen Trump supporters to authorities while comparing the work of this “army of citizens” to that which led to the capture of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

The clip, which received over four million views, claims the greatest threat facing America today emanates from “radical extreme conservatives, also known as domestic terrorists” hidden among us.

A video clip released last month by the left-wing MeidasTouch PAC brands Republican Party members as “traitors” unworthy of being called conservatives while describing the GOP as “no different” from the ISIS terror group.

The statements came from MeidasTouch co-founder Ben Meiselas on the PAC’s podcast in an over two-minute clip published Friday. In one tweet, the video was introduced with a message referring to the Republican Party as the “GOP terrorist party.”

Also last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dubbed members of Congress who seek to protect themselves with firearms the “enemy.”

“We will probably need a supplemental for more security for members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, in addition to what is happening outside,” she said.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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