Musician Ted Nugent called on supporters of Donald Trump to go “berserk on the skulls of Democrats” during a performance on the former president’s “American Freedom Tour” in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Nugent has been an outspoken supporter of Trump, regularly perpetuating false claims about the 2020 presidential election and spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic. During his latest public appearance, he called upon the estimated 8,000 attendees to assault those he deems “enemies of America.”
“They didn’t sneak into the White House — they lied, they cheated, they scammed, and every day the Democrats violate their sacred oath to the Constitution. And if you can’t impress your friends on that, they shouldn’t be your friends,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
“So I love you people madly,” he continued, “but I’d love you more if you went forward and just went berserk on the skulls of the Democrats and the Marxists and the Communists.”
Nugent’s violent rhetoric came just hours after a white supremacist murdered 10 people and injured three others in a deadly shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. In a manifesto found by law enforcement, the shooter cited Great Replacement Theory (CRT), a racist conspiracy theory perpetuated by major far-right figures like Fox News host Tucker Carlson and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik‘s that claims that Democrats are attempting to replace the population of white Americans with people of color.
The mainstreaming of such conspiracy theories was discussed on CNN’s “Inside Politics Sunday,” with New York Times correspondent Alex Burns calling it “one of the most disturbing things that has happened since I have been a political reporter.”
“This cultural shift, where this stuff is not just sort of spouted on minor talk radio stations, by fringe, state legislators. But where prominent people in Washington, and on national television, say this stuff, and there is no penalty for it,” Burns said. “And I don’t know what that penalty ought to be, but I think we can all agree that there ought to be some kind of cultural guardrail that says when you veer into that area you pay a price for it.”