Trump’s Long Island ally sparks outcry after announcing plans to train 75-member ‘militia’

Trump’s Long Island ally sparks outcry after announcing plans to train 75-member ‘militia’

In March, Bruce Blakeman, a far-right Republican and Donald Trump supporter on Long Island, announced that he wanted to recruit a force of 75 armed “special deputies.” Blakeman encouraged residents with gun licenses to apply. He said these would be “temporary emergency special deputies” and could be activated at any time.

The special unit will focus on “protecting human life and property in the event of an emergency,” Blakeman said, which could be anything from a hurricane to a power outage to “riots.”

According to New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon, the police have provoked “vocal opposition” from some Long Island residents and “plunged Nassau into a national debate about authoritarianism in an election season that some see as a crossroads for American democracy.”

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“Critics have accused (Blakeman) of creating an unauthorized militia that answers only to him without much warning or explanation,” Kilgannon reported in an article published on July 11. “They called the move particularly dangerous amid growing fears of political violence and as Mr. Trump announces plans for mass deportations and the suppression of dissent.”

One of those critics is Sabine Margolis, an IT manager based in Great Neck, Long Island, who has launched an online petition titled “Stop Bruce Blakeman’s Personal Nassau County Militia.”

Another critic is Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Democratic minority leader in the Nassau County Legislature.

DeRiggi-Whitton told the Times: “We want to do the exact opposite: a private militia with guns. We’re trying to work on gun control rather than promote it.”

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The suburbs of New York City on Long Island are divided into four counties, one of which is Suffolk County, which borders Nassau County.

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Party and the Nassau County Democratic Party, told the Times: “This is all to solidify his far-right base. Instead of solving the county’s problems, he’s appealing to the right using the language they like: militia, guns, law and order. There’s no problem he wants to solve. Does he think we’re going to be invaded by Suffolk County?”

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Read the full New York Times report at this link (subscription required).