Donald Trump has, today on Twitter, issued what can only be characterized as an explicit and direct threat of harm towards members of the United States press:

To call the press “indeed the enemy of the people” after the Capital Gazette shooting is sick–and anyone who defends or makes excuses for this man is complicit in such sickness.

There is a reason why progressives are outraged over the revelation by ProPublica that Elon Musk recently gave nearly $40,000 to a Super PAC dedicated to making sure the House of Representatives does not change hands in November. With his donation, Musk has effectively declared that he doesn’t care if Trump is never held accountable for his perfidy (and is willing to overlook the GOP’s opposition to the sound climate policy he professes to support). To give a nickel to the GOP is to aid and abet Trump’s deviant behavior.

What will Musk say if some Trump-inspired nutjob decides to bring harm to a journalist or a media entity? Is it not obvious that Trump is effectively doing to the press what hardcore anti-choicers did to Dr. George Tiller in the years leading up to his assassination?

One reason why Trump holds so much uncontrolled wrath towards the press is because the Fourth Estate has accurately taken note of his submissiveness to Vladimir Putin:

When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sits down with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday for a meeting he has long wanted, he will already have accomplished virtually everything he could reasonably hope for.

All he really needs to make his meeting with Mr. Trump a success is for it to take place without any major friction — providing a symbolic end to Western efforts to isolate Russia over its actions against Ukraine in 2014, its meddling in the United States election in 2016 and other examples of what the United States Treasury Department has described as Russia’s “malign activity” around the world.

“If Trump says, ‘Let bygones be bygones because we have a world to run,’ that is essentially what Moscow needs from this,” said Vladimir Frolov, an independent foreign policy analyst in Moscow…

Even the indictment announced on Friday in Washington against 12 Russian military intelligence officers, which prompted some Democrats to demand the cancellation of the Helsinki meeting, could help Mr. Putin by playing into a conspiracy theory long embraced by both the Kremlin and the White House that the “deep state” is determined to sabotage Mr. Trump’s outreach to Russia. Right before the indictments were announced, in fact, Mr. Trump referred to the Russia investigation as a “rigged witch hunt” that “really hurts our relationship with Russia.”

Anything that stokes divisions inside the United States, or between America and its allies, is viewed by Moscow as a victory. Deploying hackers, disinformation campaigns and support for far-right populist forces in Europe, Mr. Putin has long sought to fracture the West and upend the established geopolitical order. But Mr. Trump, who routinely attacks European leaders and has started a trade war with some of America’s closest allies, is now effectively doing the job for him.

Again, what happens when someone motivated by #MAGA madness decides to punish those Trump has called the enemy of the people and “effectively do the job for” the 45th President? How will Musk and others who have enabled Trump respond? With thoughts and prayers?

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.