FRESNO, Calif. - A Fresno State professor's tweets aimed at President Donald Trump have landed him in hot water.
History professor Lars Maischak sent out two tweets in February. The first said: "To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance #DeathToFascism". Two days after that, Maischak tweeted this: "#TheResistance Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?". On Saturday, Fresno State President Joseph Castro responded to the tweet on his own Twitter account, posting: "He is a lecturer at Fresno State. Statements on his social media accounts are his alone and do not reflect the position of the University."
Political analyst Don Larson said, "You can disagree with policy, you can, you can question their moral behavior, any of those kinds of things, but to in a sense talk about assassination and hanging, that's beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned."
Maischak was unavailable for an on-camera or phone interview on Saturday, but said in a statement that he does not condone murder or violence, nor does he intend to commit any acts of murder or violence. In an email sent to us, Maischak said he believes the Republican Party has placed itself in the tradition of fascism, and he compares Republicans to German Neo-Nazis. Maischak said he is German, and according to his profile on Fresno State's website, he received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
"I feel very strongly about the responsibilities you have to your students, you have to the school. Teachers are role models at every level, kindergarten teachers, college teachers," stated Larson.
Fresno State's spokesperson Kathleen Schock sent a statement that said, ""Lars Maischak is employed as a lecturer at Fresno State. Statements made on his personal social media accounts are his alone and are not endorsed by nor reflect the position of the University."
According to the United State's Department of Justice, it is a federal offense for anyone to assault, kill, or kidnap, or attempt to conspire to kill the President of the United States.
Here is Lars Maischak's statement to KSEE24 / CBS47:
I assume this is in reference to the article from the Breitbart sub-culture that quotes some of my tweets out of context to give the impression that I advocated for murder and violence.
I can assure you that I do not condone or advocate for murder or violence, and that I do not intend to commit any act, or acts, of murder or violence.
From the context of the entirety of my tweets, this should be evident to anyone reading them in good faith (as opposed to malicious intent).
The function of articles like the one produced by Breibart and affiliates is to whip up a digital lynch-mob of people sending threats and insults to my email and twitter accounts, with the ultimate goal of silencing dissenters.
If there is a news-worthy story here, it is one of character assassination.
In context, my argument can be summarized as follows (and this, too, you can retrace by reading my tweets):
1) The Republican Party has placed itself in the tradition of Fascism (German or otherwise) by its embrace of ethnic nationalism, Social Darwinism, militarism, and patriarchal gender ideology, to list just the most important ones.
2) The present government of the U.S. is pursuing policies that follow from the above ideas. For instance, the deportations of undocumented immigrants are not driven by any rational policy incentive, but rather by ethnic and racial resentment. They are conducted with a degree of cruelty that goes far beyond the imperatives of sensible law enforcement. In the broader view of historical precedent, they are akin to ethnic cleansing.
3) Historically, democracies faced with a threat from a Fascist sub-culture have succeeded in defending themselves only if they were willing to use repressive means. Considering the hermetically closed frame of reference within the Fascist sub-culture in this country, there is little hope for the liberal remedy of rational debate, convincing others in a market-place of ideas, etc. This makes a repressive and punitive remedy almost inevitable.
4) Once the full extent of the ideological motives behind the actions of the present government becomes more readily apparent, and once these actions have taken their toll on the population of this country, I think that it will be likely for a trial or tribunal to take place where leading Republicans will be held accountable. The execution of the present chief executive is a possible outcome of any such proceedings.
5) At the moment, based on my conviction that a majority of Americans are committed to democracy, it therefore follows that "Trump must hang" (the partial text of one of my most-quoted tweets), with the word "must" expressing a logical necessity, rather than a demand or wish.
My assessment of the situation in which this country finds itself is of course colored by my background as a German. I have observed the increasing similarity in tone, style, and content between the utterances of Republicans over the past decade, and those of German neo-Nazis and old Nazis.
The hate-mail I have received since gaining notoriety has done nothing to change this initial impression.