Donald Trump's 'Civil War' Tweet Is Seditious and a 'Grave Crime,' Retired Army Officer Says

A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Fox News analyst has accused President Donald Trump of sedition for tweeting about the threat of civil war if the ongoing impeachment investigation eventually unseats him.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters was once a regular contributor to Fox News as a military analyst. He has described the network as "amoral" and "opportunistic" since severing ties with Fox News and becoming a fierce critic of both the network and of Trump.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted a quote from evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress. "If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal," the tweet read, attributed to Jeffress.

Speaking with host Anderson Cooper on CNN on Monday, Peters said the president is inciting violence and undermining the Constitution.

Cooper asked Peters what his reaction to the tweet was, to which the retired officer replied, "One word: sedition."

"Trump is inciting violence against the legitimate government of the United States and the constitutional order," he continued. "And, Anderson, that is a grave crime. You can argue about the meaning of treason, what constitutes it, what doesn't—sedition is very clear cut."

"Also I have to say there's not going to be a civil war," Peters added. "Knock that off. I've been hearing people on the extreme right saying it for years." The retired officer also noted "the irony of a draft-dodger talking up war."

Trump's civil war tweet was just one of a flurry of messages sent over the weekend, lashing out at the nascent impeachment investigation announced last week. Peters suggested the president's belligerence is evidence of his difficult position, beset by multiple investigations and facing a tough re-election campaign.

"Trump, he's afraid. He's a frightened, frightened man," Peters told Cooper. "If he loses the election—and it's not a forgone conclusion that he will but if he does—he'll face the rest of his life in courtrooms...perhaps in prison." Peters added that Trump is "an embarrassment that cannot be measured."

Peters also had harsh words for the Republican lawmakers who are still backing the president, despite the embarrassing and incriminating revelations of recent weeks. Peters described the party as a "terrible disappointment" that has abandoned the rule of law and the constitution.

"You see Republicans on Capitol Hill just cowering, just cowering, afraid of Donald Trump, this bloated old charlatan who never served in any capacity," Peters said.

"And all these Republican patriots who served, they're running to make excuses for him, cringing," he continued, acknowledging that his "views are strong on this."

Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed that he pressed Zelensky to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden over debunked allegations of corruption. Critics have cited the exchange as yet more evidence of Trump's transactional approach to politics and the prioritization of his own personal interests.

"With this president, it's always been said everything is transactional, relationships are transactional," Cooper said.

Peters concurred, replying: "Trump is all about Trump is all about Trump. And I really feel sorry for the people who voted for him who convinced themselves that this man is a patriot." But Peters also defended those Trump supporters who he argued had been deserted by the two main parties.

"They were abandoned by both political parties as the Republicans became the party of high finance, the Democrats became the party of high society," Peters told Cooper. "People went ignored, utterly ignored."

Donald Trump, civil war, tweet, sedition
President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 27, 2019. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images/Getty