Otherwise put: Is Donald Trump a thinly disguised fascist? Is he a waddling wannabe who probably will be if he wins a second term in November?
That’s the question a friend of mine recently raised when he compared Trump to Benito Mussolini: “just like Mussolini,” he said, “our President is bombastic and arrogant.”
I was stunned. Not so much at the comparison, but rather at who made it. The person in question is no wild-eyed radical. On the contrary, he attended Union Theological Seminary as a young man. He is by nature mild mannered and charitable. His political views can best be described as moderate and scrupulously fair.
All of which got me to thinking. Is there more to a Trump-Mussolini comparison than meets the eye? It’s hardly a secret that Trump is “bombastic and arrogant”. At least in this one respect Trump’s public persona is much like that of Benito Mussolini, the founder of Italy’s National Fascist Party. But is there more?
So I decided to dig a little deeper. Here is what I found after merely scratching the surface of what is clearly fertile ground for future research. The similarities in use of weaponized words and hate speech to manipulate the masses is striking.
Mussolini expressed contempt for the very idea of an independent press:
Italian journalism is free because it serves one cause and one purpose… mine!
Trump echoes Mussolini’s disdain for a free press.
There is great anger in our Country cause in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the new. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
And, on May 27, 2020, Trump tweeted the following:
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.
If only we can give them faith that mountains can be moved, they will accept the illusion that mountains are moveable, and thus an illusion may become reality.
…speech to Veterans in Kansas City on July 24, 2018:
Don’t believe the crap you see from these people. CNN is the worst. What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.
Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere.
…2019 State of the Union speech February 5, 2019:
Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. … Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country…
…on use of state violence to “smash” an opposing party:
The Socialists ask what is our program? Our program is to smash the heads of the Socialists.
…on the possibility of the military, police and Bikers for Trump getting violent with Antifa, Breitbart News interview, March 2019:
I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
The barbarians are at the gates. If Donald Trump is re-elected, the extreme right, many of whom would not recognize a Fascist if they fell into a pit full of Blackshirts, will have no need to do any gate-storming. The gates will be thrown wide open. And that will be that: the end of the American Experiment.
America’s Rubicon moment is here and now. Is the comparison between Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini fair? You decide. For me, it’s a slam dunk: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…