The New York Times had an egregiously-weak headline (bordering on malpractice) about the speech Trump gave on Saturday -- Veterans Day, no less -- writing only that "Trump Takes Veteran Day Speech in a Very Different Direction"
Saying that Trump's Veteran Day speech went in a very different direction is like saying that Thelma and Louise took a very different route getting down from the cliff than was on the map.
The Washington Post got it right –
And then a bit later in the day, Forbes took up the story and reported it properly in its headline, as well --
It is my hope that the New York Times puts on its adult pants soon and that they and other newspapers report the reality of Trump as clearly and directly as the Washington Post and Forbes understand. If you want to be the "Newspaper of record," you have to report the record, and not keep it so far away the coverage requires binoculars. Being objective starts with knowing the object.
I am loathe to compare anyone to Hitler. Hitler is in a category alone -- with Hitler, it's not just that he was autocratic, or authoritarian, or fascist, or a despot. But rather that he built death camps, rounded up and systematically murdered six million Jews and others, built an army to overrun Europe and attempted to take over the world.
So, Trump is not like Hitler. Nor am I aware of anyone else since Hitler, not matter how brutal. Hitler stand alone in his own small cubicle in Hell.
But when somebody clearly and blatantly uses Hitler's words to advance his own fascist, despotic goals, it is appropriate to say so and to quote them.
The MeidasTouch group put a meme together from Trump's speech -- once again, on Veterans Day -- and social media posts to drive this home as impactfully as possible.
As MeidasTouch wrote --
"This is not merely a coincidence.
"It is deliberate.
"We must not sit idly by as fascism rears its ugly head in America."
And still, again, it must be reiterated that this latest of Trump speeches was made on Veterans Day, the day the United States honors the men and women who served in the armed forces to protect democracy, including those who fought in World War II to defeat Hitler. An added, bitter irony given how Trump has enabled neo-Nazis as the core of his base
Trump is telling everyone who he is. And he's pretty clear about it.
"[I]f I happen to be president," he says, "and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them...”
He thinks that Gen. Mark Milley, Trump's own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be killed.
On Veterans Day, he posts a long, raging manifesto on social media frothing against thugs, vermin and the Radical Left willing to "cheat on elections" and willing to do "anything possible" to "destroy America" that begins by saying without a hint of irony or self-awareness "In honor of our great Veterans," and then ending with "The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave, than the threat from within. Despite the hatred and anger of the Radical Left Lunatics who want to destroy our Country, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN."
That is Trump. Who has ridiculed people who joined the military, called those who died in battled "losers," and refused to visit a World War II graveyard in France...because there was a light rain. There is Trump, attempting to pretend he honors these very same veterans who saved democracy and defeated Hitler -- all the while insisting that neo-Nazis have some very fine people among them. That isn't true even if you compare them to the white supremacists Trump enables.
By the way, an added, unmentioned, problem for Republicans is that when Trump is the official GOP nominee, all Republicans running throughout the country, in any race, national, state or local, will have to endorse and support him as the party leader. Candidates in purple districts will be in huge trouble. Because if they don't back his words, they risk losing GOP voter support.
This is what happens in a democracy when your party wraps itself around a leader who is openly fascist, autocratic and is comfortable echoing Adolf Hitler.
No, Trump is not Hitler. And isn't even remotely close. He just seems to be okay with people thinking how much he admires the guy.
To quote the great Molly Ivins from another, but related occasion. Trump's speech on Saturday "sounded better in the original German."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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