Who is Trump?
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** Updated from the original July 29, 2022, post **
Who is Trump?
Forget everything you know about him for a second, and imagine hearing him for the first time. It is madness. All of it.
The country is moving towards an inexorable confrontation between American democracy and the delusions, insanity, narcissism and ambitions of the Queens hustler Donald Trump. The mad king of MAGA is the grandson of a pimp, and the son of a slumlord Klansman. He is the twice-impeached, one-term loser who planned and incited an attack on America from the Oval Office.
The January 6 Select Committee has demonstrated the criminality and depth of the conspiracy. The failure to prosecute these criminal acts will be a political decision that will threaten American freedom like few decisions ever have. It would further obliterate trust between the American people and the most important institutions in the country. It would mark the moment where America abandoned a system that says “no person is above the law,” in favor of one where Donald Trump exists above and beyond the reach of law.
The singular test for prospective Democratic candidates will be merit-based. Who has the wherewithal to recognize what Trump is, explain it, obliterate it, and offer something better? The list of names is tragically short. The people on it are likely to produce a president among them. It starts with direct confrontation about the evil of the idea that Trump is preaching. Let’s start there.
Let’s start with a question. Who is Trump in 2022? Is he still evolving? Is he just now — at age 76 — blossoming into his true self?
Access journalism is not a new phenomenon. It has always been a shortcut to fame, riches and celebrity.
Karl Henry von Wiegand wrote for the Hearst Newspapers. The German American served as a useful idiot for the Germans during the First World War. He was the only citizen of an Allied power granted an interview with Kaiser Wilhelm and allowed to remain in Germany throughout the war.
He wrote about Hitler at the beginning of his career and interviewed him during his rise, his ascension as Chancellor, and for the last time in 1940, as he stood triumphant as one of the greatest conquerors in world history.
It seems strange to think that Hitler remained somewhat inscrutable in 1940. What did he want? More importantly, who was he? Was he more than what he said? Did he mean the things he said? Hitler didn’t run on committing the Holocaust or starting a war that killed 100 million people. He ran talking about freedom and prosperity. He ran talking clearly about all of the groups and enemies who were responsible for every problem. He ran committed to the obliteration of the truth. He ran and rose while inciting and condemning violence.
There are many stupid Hitler comparisons made in America on a daily basis. Mostly, they are made by politicians, and the common element is their shared marination in a sauce of astounding ignorance. There is a rule in politics that speaks to the wisdom of avoiding such Nazi comparisons, but it seems that it is too difficult to convince many politicians of its wisdom.
There is a related stupidity that is even worse. It is the idea that, since politicians make offensive, stupid and insensitive Nazi comments, that no politician should ever talk about Nazis. The problems with this approach are many, starting with the fact that Nazis still exist. More importantly, the Nazis were the greatest criminals, murderers and liars in human history. They have responsibility for the greatest war in history, which included genocide against the Jews and the killing of at least 100 million people.
There are many analogies that have been made between Trump, Hitler and Mussolini.
There are few comparisons that make fascists tremble with more rage.
Personally, I think the comparisons are inappropriate because we know how the Hitler story ended. There is nothing new to learn, and there never will be about that.
That is not the case with Trump. We have no idea what he will do. Only a fool would underestimate his bottomless capacity to create a global catastrophe.
Here is what von Wiegand wrote about Hitler in 1922:
Here is what he wrote about him in 1933:
Here is what he wrote about him in 1940:
The point is this: the mystery ends when the story ends. The Trump story is still becoming. It is still being written. There shouldn’t be a lack of imagination about his return to power and capacity to wreak havoc. A person as profoundly sick, demented, delusional and evil as Trump should not have access to launch nuclear weapons that could extinct humanity. He is unfit at every conceivable level.
His unfitness is not a prophylactic with regard to his taking power. He obtained it once. His only regret it appears is the incompetence that abounded around him. He wants a chance to be president and do whatever he wishes from day one.
Imagine hearing Trump for the first time. Now imagine hearing Adolph Hitler in 1922 or 1930 Munich.
The speeches are very similar. They scapegoat, dehumanize and stigmatize.
They bluster and threaten, while being completely detached from reality and the truth.
They are built around defining an enemy and calling for their destruction.
They are built around racial animus, fear and imaginary threats.
Why do they sound so similar despite the language differences and nearly a 100-year gap? It is because they are both fascists.
So is the gas chamber-joking Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban. His speeches about race mixing are Hitlerism 101. This past summer, he was introduced by one of the leaders of the 21st century American Bund, Matt Schlapp, at the CPAC convention in Dallas, Texas. One of Orban’s top advisors resigned after Orban’s embrace of Hitlerism and foundational Nazi ideology.
What Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Trump, Orban and Putin all share in common is fascism.
Who is Donald Trump? He is an American fascist and political extremist who detests democracy and wants power to punish his enemies. He is a lot like his fellow fascist Hitler in that regard, with the exception of Hitler being from Austria, not Queens.
People laughed at Hitler. He was called a buffoon and frowned upon. He was written off by the elites – who then scrambled for his favor. He was put in power by a grotesque mix of cowardice, blindness and transactional opportunities. He was put in power to defend the family, fight inflation, stop the communists and restore law and order. The rest is history.
Who is Trump? He keeps trying to tell us, but many of us won’t listen and won’t hear.
Understanding what happened in Germany between 1918 and 1945 might be the singularly most important lesson for human beings who were born afterwards to understand. Americans would be well-served to know more as they look at Trump as he eyes 2024.