In the minutes after an armed man in body armor tried to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati, an account with the suspect’s name, Ricky Shiffer, posted to former president Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social: “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I.”
The Shiffer account appeared to be one of Truth Social’s most prolific posters, writing 374 messages there in the past eight days — mostly to echo Trump’s false claims about election fraud and, in the hours after FBI agents searched Trump’s Florida home, call for all-out war. “Be ready to kill the enemy,” Shiffer had posted on Tuesday. “Kill [the FBI] on sight.”
Shiffer was killed Thursday in a shootout, police said, and the Truth Social account has since been taken down. But the calls for pro-Trump violence are still a common presence online — including on Truth Social, where the top “trending topics” Friday morning were “#FBIcorruption” and “DefundTheFBI.”
Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Cincinnati shooting offers a glimpse at the real-world dangers of constant attacks from Trump and allied Republicans against federal officials in the days since FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate and the center of his post-presidential operations.
It also showcased how such violent anger could be encouraged in plain sight in loosely moderated online refuges such as Truth Social, where Trump supporters frequently tear down perceived enemies and call for civil war. [Continue reading…]