On Thursday, President Donald Trump condemned Greater New York Black Lives Matter leader Hank Newsome in the strongest possible terms. Newsome had told Fox News’s Martha McCallum that the United States was “built on violence” and warned that if America “doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.”
“Black Lives Matter leader states, ‘If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it’. This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!” Trump tweeted.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution defines “treason” as “levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Advocating the wholesale arson of the American system, especially at a time when looting, vandalism, and arson have ravaged American cities, is arguably incitement toward a kind of civil war.
Trump often resorts to hyperbole in condemning his opponents, and it may be hyperbolic to interpret Newsome’s comments as “treason,” but even if this threat of violence falls short of treason, it is still a serious matter.