President Donald Trump will remain one of the most divisive figures in US history. In the last six years, he has been able to rally his support base massively. Despite his loss in the 2020 presidential election, it was evident when he called the election fraudulent and claimed that it was stolen from him. Most of his supporters — nearly half of America — readily agreed. So much so that his supporters were ready to take "back the country" even if they had to kill or pursue other unlawful activities. In a way, he is America's 21st-century cult leader.
But a sitting President cannot condone violence in a civil society. Trump could not either. He had to condemn the riots at Capitol on January 6 even though he urged his followers to rally and influence Congress to overturn the results in favor of him, falsely calling it "stop the steal". In a statement, Trump called for peace and promised a smooth transition for his challenger Joe Biden.
However, that did not sit well amongst some of the extreme supporters or cultists. Many of the fringe groups are now feeling betrayed by their leader. With free speech platform Parler offline and Facebook, Twitter and Reddit all cracking down on the Trump cult, Telegram and other platforms have emerged as their venting bags.
"So, he basically just sold out the patriots who got rounded up for him. Just wow," said one person in a pro-Trump Telegram channel as reported by Huffington Post.
'Get Out of Our Way'
In the aftermath of the Capitol riots, many arrested participants said Trump should pardon them as they were following his orders. On Friday, one of the lawyers representing Jake Angeli, the 'QAnon Shaman', who was wearing a Viking cap during the riot, called for Trump to pardon him as he was merely following the President's order to take back the country.
But it is unlikely that Trump would pardon any of them. Hence, many MAGA supporters have been venting their frustration on online platforms such as CloutHub, MeWe, Gab and 8kun besides Telegram. Many are even calling the President a "traitor" and a "coward". Some have also denounced Trump's calls for a smooth transition, asking him to get out of their way so that they could prevent Biden from taking office on January 20 with or without his help. "We don't follow you. Be quiet and get out of our way," a user wrote in Telegram.
Despite Trump's calls for peace, many still believe violence could get him to stay at the White House for four more years. The conspiracy theories and misinformation related to voter fraud has no end in sight and is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Even the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned against the rise in domestic terrorism in the coming days.
"There are no f***ing rules anymore, f**k the left... it is time for an armed revolt against the Deepstate Now!" one wrote in a pro-Trump Telegram channel.
"The Betrayal of Trumpist base by Trump himself continues. Telling us all to come together and have peace. After all that's been done to us. For simply supporting him!? Nope. He didn't put the left in their place for all the hypocrisy and double standard. Meanwhile we're all "banned" and blacklisted," another wrote in a Telegram channel run by Proud Boys, a far-right white supremacist group.
"He can promise and call for peace all he likes. Won't make a blind bit of difference," a user wrote on Gub.
Other messages included instances of his loyal supporters turning on him, calling for his imprisonment and even execution on some pro-Trump platforms. Many even urged him to declare Marshall law to save his presidency.
"Tbh, I hope they hang Trump at this point"
"He deserves what's coming to him"
"He is literally done he will die in jail"
"Seriously hoping they'll lock him up or lynch him"
"Guy is the biggest cuck ever at this point"
"Can't wait till the left locks up his bitch ass. Rot in prison"
Rise of Alternate Social Media Sites
With Trump banned from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube amongst others, his supporters have flocked to alternate platforms that have cashed in on the mass exodus. During the purge, many of Trump's supporters' accounts were also suspended. Hence, platforms like Gab, CloutHub, MeWe and Telegram have seen a surge in the userbase. According to reports, Gab, another free-speech alternative, has seen 10,000 people signing up an hour. Telegram too has exploded with 25 million new users in the last week alone.
However, with little to content moderation, such platforms have become far-right heaven. Many pro-Trump supporters have called to "burn down the Capitol", "pop some libtards" and "let's hang them all" amongst others. Some have even asked peers to be ready for another "Civil War" and group up locally. "Take out the news stations" and "let's finish the Democratic party" were some other online chatters that were observed.
The FBI, however, is monitoring such online chatter as they fear that those platforms could become the next hub to coordinate riots and insurrection. Ahead of the Capitol riots, many Trump supporters coordinated on Parler, Facebook and Twitter.