- Supporters of former President Donald Trump are calling for nonviolent forms of protest in anticipation of his arrest, suggesting a national bank run instead of a traditional demonstration.
- Trump has already called on his supporters to “PROTEST, PROTEST PROTEST” if he’s arrested Tuesday morning.
- The George Washington Institute told Newsweek that searches for a pro-Trump bank run nearly quadrupled between Friday and Saturday, with queries rising again on Monday.
Some supporters of former President Donald Trump are calling for nonviolent forms of protest in anticipation of a Trump arrest in Manhattan this week, suggesting that his base participates in a national bank run instead of demonstrating on the streets.
“Driven by false flag paranoia,” Trump supporters have increasingly advocated for a bank run in recent days as a “nonviolent form of social disobedience” against a Trump arrest, according to the George Washinton Institute (GWI), an organization dedicated to combating disinformation.
What is a Bank Run?
Suggestions for a bank run in protest of a Trump arrest seem to capitalize on how devastating bank runs have proven to be to the financial system.
When a large number of depositors rush to withdraw their funds from the bank simultaneously, its impact could lead to a full-blown banking crisis. The calls also appear to reflect how increased polarization in politics has led some to attempt to bring political views into the world of finance.
“Be a shame if Trump supporters led a nationwide bank run,” Jack Posobiec, an alt-right activist known for his support of Trump, tweeted on Saturday. Vincent Sativa, another Trump supporter, called Posobiec’s strategy a “brilliant” and “genius” way to show the nation just how many Americans continue to support the former president.
Calls for others to join in and pull their money out of the banking system come after Trump announced that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday morning in the New York case related to the hush money payments he allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Over the weekend, Trump urged his supporters to “PROTEST, PROTEST PROTEST!!!!” his imminent indictment. He did not specify what form these protests should take.
Daniels claims that she had an affair with Trump, which he has denied. Last week, Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified to the grand jury that the former President directed him to make those payments to Daniels and that the Trump Organization reimbursed him later on.
In a Monday statement, GWI told Newsweek it has detected “growing chatter around the topic”, but “the chatter is growing at a logarithmic rate which will hamper the narratives’ ability to spread, marginalizing any impact that may occur.” GWI’s graphs show that the volume of searches for a potential bank run nearly quadrupled between Friday and Saturday, with queries rising again on Monday.
Calls for a pro-Trump bank run also come on the heels of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse that sent shockwaves across the U.S. financial system last week. The regional bank imploded after customers started withdrawing their funds in masses, effectively setting off a bank run that forced regulators to shut down the bank. In its aftermath, New York-based Signature Bank was also shuttered while the nation’s largest banks rushed to offer midsize lender First Republic Bank a $30 billion rescue package.
Given that the system is already on shaky ground, some point out that, “It won’t take much right now to crash the entire monetary system.”
“If Trump gets arrested, they are planning to pull their money out of the banking system. You will see a bank run of mass proportions,” Twitter user @CryptoPolka wrote on Sunday. “It won’t take much right now to crash the entire monetary system.”
“With the panic in the markets around SVB – this could get interesting,” another user @OopsGuess added. “We all want MAGA…”
This wouldn’t be the first time that everyday Americans have attempted to manipulate markets and companies to make a political point, or to make money for themselves.
Two years ago, small investors upended Wall Street after organizing a short squeeze over Reddit that sent the price of GameStop stock soaring and forced hedge fund traders to back out. In response, brokerages like Robinhood had to halt the trading of GameStop stock—a decision that was later met with criticisms from prominent politicians and class-action lawsuits that alleged the app of market abuse.
Organizing a bank run is not illegal by itself, although there are laws that prohibit the spreading of misinformation about a bank’s financial conditions, former federal prosecutor and President of West Coast Trial Lawyers Neama Rahmani told Newsweek. Prosecutors would likely have to apply a more general federal law, like wire fraud or stock market manipulation, to go after this type of scheme.
A Call For Peace
Despite Trump’s calls for protest, other high-ranking Republicans have pushed back, cautioning against any type of violence in response to an arrest.
On Sunday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that while an indictment would be “an outrageous abuse of power,” he didn’t think people should be protesting it. “We want calmness out there,” he told reporters in Orlando, Florida. “I do not believe there should be any violence to this.”
Trump ally Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene also tweeted on Saturday, “We don’t need to protest.”
Those remarks have been echoed by Trump supporters who are mulling a bank run. Some have cautioned that protesting will lead authorities to bring martial law into effect and possibly detain or charge demonstrators.
“Participate in a bankrun instead,” Aaron Day, a longshot candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination, tweeted. “It will be highly effective and non-violent (it also solves our corrupt banking and Ukraine situation at the same time).”
Folks, if they arrest Trump, do NOT get involved with these @FBI organized protests. They will manufacture violence and use it to bring in martial law.
Participate in a bankrun instead. It will be highly effective and non-violent (it also solves our corrupt banking and Ukraine… https://t.co/diA3FZvcnB pic.twitter.com/8UYIDorIjK
— Aaron Day 2024: Truth and Transformation (@AaronRDay) March 20, 2023
Truth Social users also said fans of the former president should participate in nonviolent forms of protest to avoid giving Trump critics “what they think will happen, violence or riots.”
“Trump supporters are law abiding!” one Truth Social user wrote. “We can protest without damaging or breaking the law. I can pull my money from the bank. I can do a lot to crash this economy.”
Some Twitter users criticized the plans, casting doubt over whether Trump’s supporters would be able to withdraw enough money to constitute a bank run.
“MAGA supporters couldn’t possible generate a bank run,” user @stmdc wrote. “They vave not deposits to withdraw. What little money they have has been spent on Trump picture books, various ‘own the libs’ t-shirts and 20 cases of freeze dried vegetable stew sitting in the garage.”
“I think it’s funny that they think their bank accounts could trigger anything,” another user @ThePhillyNick said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung for comment.
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