- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2019

Bill Maher believes divisiveness among Americans could potentially spark another civil war, the comedian and staunch critic of President Trump said on his latest HBO show Friday.

“Lately we’ve been hearing more and more about a second Civil War, which sounds impossible in this modern affluent country. It is not,” said the “Real Time with Bill Maher” host.

“We all talk about Trump as an existential threat, but his side sees Democratic control of government the exact same way. And when both sides believe the other guy taking over means the end of the world, yes, you can have a civil war,” Mr. Maher continued.

Mr. Maher, 63, has been among the president’s most vocal critics on cable television since before Mr. Trump entered the White House. He has regularly compared him to authoritarian dictators, and he has argued repeatedly that he does not believe Mr. Trump will relinquish the office if voted out in 2020 – an assertion the president has referenced during recent re-election campaign rallies.

Speaking near the end of his show’s last episode of the year, Mr. Maher said he would “try to stop” insulting people critical of liberals, explaining: “I’ve learned that the anti-intellectualism on the right doesn’t primarily come from stupidity, it comes from hate.”

“We are going to have to learn to live with each other or there will be blood,” Mr. Maher said later during the monologue.

Several of Mr. Trump’s defenders — including former presidential election campaign members Stephen K. Bannon and Roger Stone, among others — have previously equated efforts to remove him from office with instigating another civil war.

Democrats initiated an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump in late September, and more than a month of closed-door hearings culminated in several witnesses testifying publicly this week.

Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Fox News contributor supportive of Mr. Trump, said shortly after the inquiry was initiated that impeachment could trigger a “Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”

Mr. Trump subsequently created a firestorm when he quoted the pastor’s remarks on Twitter afterward.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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