Trump supporters held up Clinton “target practice” posters at a rally in Florida Monday, with a bulls-eye framing her face. Two days earlier in Virginia Beach, one Trump backer hoisted a plastic Hillary Clinton head on a stick, while others waved target signs. And several weeks ago, two armed Trump supporters protested outside the congressional campaign office of a rural Virginia Democrat, in what they said was a gesture of solidarity with closet supporters of Trump. Federal and state law enforcement officials say such incidents have heightened their concerns about violence in the final two weeks of the long and bitter Presidential campaign, and well beyond that if Donald Trump loses and refuses to accept the vote as legitimate. “There is a motivated army of ‘fingers in their ears’ supporters of his who believe he’s giving them license to behave badly, and license not to except the findings of the 9,000 bipartisan polling jurisdictions around the country,” one senior federal law enforcement official told NBC News.
“It gives me concerns about violence,” that official said, not just on Election Day but before and afterward. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he confirmed that local, state and federal authorities and even multi-agency Fusion Centers are on the lookout for signs of trouble.
The senior official said authorities have been concerned for months about violence, especially after one Trump surrogate talked in August of a post-Election “bloodbath” if supporters sensed any kind of voter fraud, and another said Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Trump himself ignited a controversy Aug. 9 when he hinted that pro-gun activists might take into their own hands the issue of Clinton appointing pro-gun control justices to the Supreme Court.