Some time after 6:00 a.m. last Wednesday morning in Provo, Utah, dozens of FBI agents executed a search warrant on the home of 75-year-old Craig D. Robertson, a heavily armed and self-declared “MAGA TRUMPER.” The raid ended with Robertson being shot and killed by FBI agents.
Prior to the raid, Robertson had repeatedly threatened to assassinate President Joe Biden, who was scheduled to appear in Salt Lake City, a 45-minute drive from Provo, later that day.
This was the second time FBI agents had visited Robertson’s suburban home in the past five months. The Department of Justice complaint against Robertson asserted that the FBI had been investigating him since March 19 of this year, after Truth Social—the Twitter/X clone owned by ex-President Donald Trump—tipped off the FBI that Robertson had made specific threats to kill Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.
“ALVIN BRAGG,” declared @winston4eagels, Robertson’s profile name on multiple social media sites, “(H)eading to New York to fulfill my dream of [eradicating] another of George Soros two-bit political [hack] DAs. I’ll be waiting in the courthouse parking garage with my suppressed Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm to smoke a radical fool prosecutor should never have been elected.”
Bragg, who is currently prosecuting Trump over “hush money” payments made by his election campaign to a porn film actress in 2016, is one of several Democratic African American prosecutors against whom Trump has repeatedly incited violence in campaign advertisements and speeches. Virtually all of Robertson’s anticommunist, racist and threatening posts, deemed sufficiently criminal by the FBI to charge him with three felonies, are more vulgar versions of threats regularly made by Trump against his political enemies over the last eight years.
No government agents were reportedly injured during the shooting. According to eyewitness accounts gathered by Desert News, Robertson, an Air Force veteran from the Vietnam era, refused to come out of his home after dozens of FBI agents surrounded it and demanded over a megaphone that he “come out with his hands up.” The witness saw FBI agents attempt to break down the front door with a battering ram, which was unsuccessful. FBI agents then used a “tactical vehicle” to break Robertson’s front window.
According to the neighbor’s account in Desert News, shortly after the window was breached, six shots could be heard in quick succession. The eyewitness said he (or she) saw FBI agents drag Robertson’s body out of his home and onto the sidewalk, where they attempted to render first aid. Shortly thereafter, paramedics arrived and unsuccessfully tried to revive Robertson.
Unnamed “senior officials” have told major press outlets, including NBC and the New York Times, that Robertson was armed with one of the 20 guns he allegedly owned, and that he had pointed it at agents before he was shot and killed. The shooting occurred some 10 hours prior to President Joe Biden’s arrival in Salt Lake City for a speech at the Veterans Administration hospital.
At the time of the shooting, Robertson was facing three felony counts, including making threats against the president and against the FBI agents who were investigating him. In the complaint against Robertson, the FBI flagged several threatening social media posts made in the last year.
“THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL ASSASSINATION OR TWO. FIRST JOE THEN KAMALA!” Robertson wrote on his Facebook account last year. On Sunday, some 72 hours before Biden’s arrival, Robertson again posted on his public Facebook account, “I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH, DIGGING OUT MY OLD GHILLE [sic] SUIT AND CLEANING THE DUST OFF THE M24 SNIPER RIFLE.” Robertson also made, and re-posted, several Facebook posts warning FBI agents that he would have a “loaded gun handy in case you drop by again.”
While the FBI only began investigating Robertson this year, Robertson had made posts going back to 2019 in which he threatened to kill Democrats and left-wing individuals with semi-automatic rifles.
On July 23, 2019, he posted on his Facebook account a picture of four loaded semi-automatic rifles with scopes, captioned, “Thought I would load up for a trip to DC and Help Trump really clean up the swamp. So many Democrats and so little Time!!! Besides I need the practice on some barely moving targets, haha. -feeling fantastic.”
Robertson’s killing has already prompted outrage from the same forces that organized and carried out Trump’s failed coup, including “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, who said the shooting was proof that the “FBI is now killing all online critics of Biden.” On Friday, neo-Nazi Jack Posobiec posted on Truth Social that “The Left wants what happened to Craig Robertson and Ashli Babbitt to happen to every Trump supporter.”
Since Trump embarked on his campaign for president in 2015, his constant violent and right-wing rhetoric, modeled after Adolf Hitler, coupled with his embrace of white supremacists and fascists, as seen after the right-wing rampage Charlottesville, Virginia, six years ago, has incited thousands of his supporters to carry out attacks against his political enemies. With support from right-wing billionaires, Republican Party politicians and elements in the police-military and intelligence apparatus, along with a faction on the US Supreme Court, Trump’s embrace and cultivation of right-wing violence culminated in the failed January 6 coup.
Political violence in the US is “at its worst since the 1970s,” Reuters reported on August 9, 2023. Citing research by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project by Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and criminologist Gary LaFree from the University of Maryland, Reuters determined that “at least 39 people” had been killed in the course of 18 “fatal political attacks” since January 6, 2021. Of these 18 attacks, Reuters categorized 13 as right-wing, four as non-partisan and one as “left-wing.”
In total, Reuters found that there have been at least “213 cases of political violence,” with roughly 66 percent of these cases involving violence against a person, while the other third were “mainly property damage.”
“Much of today’s political violence,” wrote the news agency, “is aimed at people—and most of the deadly outbursts … have come from the right.” Threats against election workers “soared,” Reuters noted, after Trump lost the 2020 election, prompting election offices across the country to install bulletproof glass and security doors.
Encouraged by Trump and his far-right allies in the Republican Party and sections of the media—and abetted by police departments and federal agencies that are filled with sympathetic elements—militia groups, antisemites and neo-Nazis have continued to instigate violence at libraries, school board meetings and LGBTQ spaces on a near-daily basis.
Following Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump for attempting to overthrow the 2020 election and a bevy of charges against Trump’s fraudulent electors, Trump and his allies have doubled down on far-right threats.
This past June, top “Stop the Steal” co-conspirator and Arizona Republican Representative Andy Biggs posted on his Twitter account: “Eye for an eye.”
The New York Times reported that aspiring Trump vice presidential candidate Kari Lake, speaking at a Georgia Republican convention in June, said: “If you want to get to President Trump, you are going to have go through me, and you are going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the [National Rifle Association].”
This past Friday, The Messenger reported that Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock threatened a “civil war” during a recent fundraiser for 16 people, including his wife, who were part of the fraudulent elector scheme in Michigan. He said, “If the government continues to weaponize these departments against conservatives and the citizens … you know what’s going to happen to this country. … Someone’s going to get so pissed off, they’re going to shoot someone. That’s what’s going to happen. Or we’re going to have a civil war or some sort of revolution.”
Campaigning with Trump at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, one of several elected Florida Republicans who have thrown their support behind Trump, opined that it was only through “force” that Republicans could make “change in a corrupt town like Washington D.C.”