University of Minnesota Law School professor Richard Painter is among the most respected voices on governmental ethics in America.
He is also a badass. Facts confirming this are in evidence, following Painter's appearance on the MSNBC show Morning Joy this past weekend.
Painter, who served as legal ethics attorney to then-president George W. Bush, has turned into a relentless critic of President Donald Trump, whom he's blasted for numerous ethical shortfalls, including Trump's unwillingness to sever his business ties while in office.
Painter has turned his attention to this past weekend's "Unite the Right" chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw violent clashes between alt-right nationalists and leftists. Dozens were injured in fights, and 19 people were injured and one killed after a right-wing activist deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters.
Having previously unleashed plenty of devastating attacks on Trump's behavior in office, now's no time for Painter to stop. The right/white-wing rally in Charlottesville is "very similar to what happend in the streets of Germany in the early 1930s," Painter began.
" I've been a Republican for 30 years, but we are the party of Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan. We are not the party of fascism in America, and we are going to have to reject this. We need to demand today that President Trump fire Sebastian Gorka, Steve Bannon, all the other alt-right neo-fascists in his White House. This is Breitbart News, what you are watching on the streets of Charlottesville, and I as a Republican -- I will remain a Republican, but I will not support fascism. And I will call for the impeachment of this president if he does not fire the neo-fascists in his White House immediately."
Gorka, you'll recall, is the Trump national security adviser who last week said the president hadn't condemned the Bloomington mosque bombing because it might have been faked by "the left."
Painter continued that America had "never, ever" heard rhetoric from its president as it regularly does from Donald Trump, who he thinks has fallen under the spell of dangerous influence from Bannon and Gorka.
In another appearance on the same program, Painter talked even tougher. Presented with a clip of Trump adviser Tom Bossert bending over backwards to avoid condeming the people responsible for Charlottesville, Painter went off, saying Trump's adviser is missing "the big picture," which he explained thusly:
"The alt right is coordinating a lot of these people -- we've had Nazi Party for a long time, and the KKK -- but the alt right is bringing a bunch of other people, helping to coordinate on the internet, to raise marches like this. The alt right is a terrorist movement. It's a racist movement, it's a terrorist movement in the United States. It's a serious threat."
Given the president's association with -- and employment of -- leading figures from the alt right, Painter doubts that his Justice Department is up to the task of dealing with fascists. If that proves true, it'll be left to the states to handle. Painter believes his state, for one, is ready for the challenge.
"We're gonna have to rely on our own state governments to protect ourselves. And I can tell you that the alt right people and the Bannon-ites, come on up to Minnesota. We're gonna have our governor call out the National Guard. We're not going to put up with that kind of thing, and I think a lot of other states aren't going to put up with it."
Take it from Richard Painter. Some threats to the republic call for the studied recitation of political and societal norms and legal precedent to make a well-founded Constitutional argument against the actions of one's political opposition. And sometimes you just tell those motherfuckers to bring it on and see what happens.