Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini: Striking Parallels
Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini have many things in common ...
not the least of which is that they appear to be identical twins! The
resemblance is uncanny. Is Donald Trump the reincarnation of the fascist
Benito Mussolini? And there are many other striking parallels besides their
looks, as we
will see together.
Fascists of a feather
—Michael R. Burch
Will the fascist Donald Trump follow in the footsteps of Benito Mussolini,
destroying the United States the way Mussolini once destroyed Italy? Benito
Mussolini was once Hitler's yes-man. Donald Trump is now Putin's yes-man. What
happens when nations start doing the bidding of fascists like Hitler and Putin?
History suggests that subservient nations also become fascist, with citizens
losing their individual freedom and most basic rights in the process.
The first striking parallel is that Mussolini and Trump appear to be
identical twins, if not the same person (evidence of reincarnation,
perhaps?) Please keep in mind that Trump's wispy forelock is entirely artificial. He would be as bald as Mussolini if not for
cosmetic surgery ...
If we picture Trump without that bit of fluff surgically attached to his scalp,
the resemblance is astonishing ... they both look like doltish apes!
The second amazing parallel is their nicknames: Il Duce and Ill Douche!
Trump once re-tweeted a Mussolini quote: “@ilduce2016: It is better to live one
day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.—@realDonaldTrump
Other fascists to whom Donald Trump has been compared include Adolph Hitler,
Hermann Goering, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Silvio
Berlusconi, Leonid Brezhnev, Vladimir
Putin, Ivan the Terrible, Louis XIV, Nicholas II, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Il, Mao
Tse Tung, Ho-Chi Minh, Chiang Kai-Shek, Papa Doc Duvalier, Idi Amin, Fidel
Castro, Emperor Hirohito, Hideki Tojo, Koki Hirota, Rodrigo Duterte, Saddam
Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Augusto Pinochet, Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, Leopold II, Francisco
Franco, Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Robert Mugabe, Yakubu Gowon, Mengistu
Haile Mariam, Ismail Enver Pasha, Omar al-Bashir, Yahya Khan, Genghis Khan, and Attilâ the Hun
According to Dr. Mark Bickhard, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Cognitive
Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge at Lehigh University, the parallels
between Trump and Mussolini are even stronger than those between Trump and
Hitler. In fact, Dr. Bickhard wrote an article called "The Scary Parallels
Between Trump and Mussolini." Traits of Mussolini cited by Dr. Bickhard include:
(1) "arrogant ignorance and incoherence" and only seeming to know rather than
actually knowing, (2) pretending to be an expert on every subject, (3) cowing
the press while being a "man of the banner" himself, (4) having pretensions to
be able to "enter the hearts and minds of his subjects" in a kind of "political
religion," (5) "readjusting" his personal history, (6) being more of a
"gangster" than a real leader, (7) responding to criticism with extreme anger,
(8) combining thin-skinned ignorance with arrogant contempt, (9) being a fraud
in every conceivable way, (10) and being a "a vain, blundering boaster without
either ideas or aims."
For a more exhaustive analysis, at the bottom of this page I have taken Umberto
Eco's essay “Ur-Fascism” (“Eternal Fascism”) and illustrated how Trump matches
Eco's fourteen general properties of fascist ideology. I gave Trump 13.5 points
out of 14, deducting half a point on one contestable item.
As a result, like Mussolini before him, Trump has destroyed his country's
reputation and standing in the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84
percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the
American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later,
with Trump in the White House, that number had fallen to shocking 16 percent.
Such similarities have not gone unnoticed, because other popular (or unpopular)
Trump nicknames include Casino Mussolini (coined by Samantha Bee), Hair Mousse-olini,
Cheeto Benito, Cheat-o Benito, Benito Cheetolini and Benito Trumpolini.
One strong parallel between Trump and Mussolini is their fear and hatred of "the
other." BTW, the joke's on US (the United States) if we ever believed that Trump
was going to build an "impenetrable" wall that Mexico was going to pay for. Here
is proof positive ...
As Lawrence O'Donnell brought to our attention on January 10, 2019, Trump's
"impenetrable" steel slat fence can easily be cut apart with an inexpensive saw
purchased at a 24-hour Home Depot! Like his fraudulent "charity" and his
fraudulent "university," Trump's wall is a fraud, whatever he calls it. Trump
used his fraudulent wall to get elected president, knowing Mexico would never
pay for it. Trump authorized the testing of the various prototypes of his
downgraded wall, so he knows full well that his latest proposal is not going to
keep anyone out who really wants to get in. Drug dealers can afford saws to cut
through the fence, ships to sail around it, and planes and helicopters to fly
over it. Trump's "beautiful concrete wall" was a joke, and his downgraded fence
is a joke — a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle that solves
Trump is putting the X back in Xmas by X-ing out refugee children and their
mothers. If baby Jesus and Mary showed up needing shelter, Trump wouldn't
provide them with even a lowly manger. Instead, he'd order American soldiers to
drive them back into the wilderness at gunpoint. Meanwhile, this is what the
satanic festivities at the White House looked like the past
There are also a large number of
disturbing parallels between Donald Trump and Damien
Thorn of the OMEN movies
Trackdown Trump: Did a 1958 TV Show Predict Trump?
The third parallel is how they operate.
Mussolini founded the Italian version of Fascism as an "anti-establishment"
outsider movement, claiming that existing political parties were
"broken" and posed grave threats to the people.
A "mercurial hothead," Mussolini "reveled in his role as a political
disrupter." He trafficked in "contradiction and paradox." He used the media
to seduce multitudes of gullible people into swallowing his nonsense and
accepting his rule. Sound like anyone you know?
Like Mussolini, Trump demands loyalty to his person, rather than to the
Like Mussolini, Trump threatens and humiliates anyone who opposes him.
Like Mussolini, Trump attempts to discredit and cow the legitimate press.
Like Mussolini, Trump becomes enraged when criticized.
Like Mussolini, Trump exhibits "thin-skinned ignorance combined with
Like Mussolini, Trump is a "man of the banner headline" who is quickly bored
by details, discussions and strategy.
Like Mussolini, Trump takes all the credit when things go right, but none of
the blame when things go wrong.
Like Mussolini, Trump is what Umberto Eco called "a beehive of contradictions."
Like Mussolini, Trump lacks any philosophy: he has only rhetoric.
Like Mussolini, Trump gives the impression of talking directly to the
people, while presuming to speak for them.
Like Mussolini, Trump pretends to be an expert on every subject while in reality
being incredibly incompetent and uninformed.
Like Mussolini, Trump is closer to a Mafia don or gang lord than a democratic
Like Mussolini, Trump has had multiple wives, several mistressses and scores of
Like Mussolini, Trump is working to strengthen laws against abortions, forcing
girls and women to bear children they don't want or can't afford.
Here's an eerie coincidence:
Mussolini appointed his son-in-law as foreign minister; Trump has appointed
his son-in-law as his primary foreign minister in the Middle East, the
source of 9-11 and two bloody, trillion-dollar wars.
And here's another eerie similarity, in an excerpt from The New Yorker
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an American-born professor of Italian history at New York
University, specializes in male menace. What interests her is the
manufactured drama of world-historical strongmen—their mannerisms, speech
patterns, stagecraft, and mythomania. Late last year, Ben-Ghiat had just
published a book called Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema
, about the
years of Benito Mussolini, when another spectacle wrested her attention. One
of the candidates for the American Presidency was looking a lot like her
principal academic subject. As President Obama put it, the United States now
had its own “homegrown authoritarian.” Earlier this week, Ben-Ghiat sat at a
table in her office, at N.Y.U.’s Casa Italiana, on Twelfth Street,
inspecting two signatures on the screen of her laptop. One of them belonged
to Donald Trump, the other to Mussolini. The scrawls—loopy, cursive,
steepled—looked so similar that they seemed to blur together.
Mussolini was taken to be a sheep in wolves' clothing, until he proved to be
a real wolf. Many Americans seem to believe that what Trump says cannot be
taken seriously. But Ben-Ghiat disagrees about Trump: "He means everything he
says. Authoritarians never pivot."
According to Ben-Ghiat, Mussolini described himself as an anti-politician,
coined the slogan drenare la palude
("drain the swamp") and promised to make Italy great again. Ring
They both were "problem children" and bullies who were sent to boarding schools as young men.
They both were megalomaniacs, obsessed with themselves.
They both had books published.
They both denounced military interventions, only to later advocate and order
They both had children before they were married.
They both had affairs while married.
They both organized disparate right-wing groups into a cohesive political force.
They both blamed their nations' economic problems on other nations that acted
They both advocated an aggressive foreign policy to arrest a purported national
They both painted a picture of a society in crisis that needed a strong leader
to save it (i.e., them).
They both stoked racial animosities and grievances of the majority against
They both favored the "stick" over the "carrot" in dealing with unwanted
They both favored deportation of "inferior" people.
They both saw darker-skinned people as "inferior" to white people.
They both enlisted working-class voters against the left.
They both mocked people they perceived as weak.
They both glorified strength, power and "winning at all costs."
They both claimed that only they could restore order and "save" their nations.
They both became cults of one.
They both denounced legitimate presses while employing propaganda lavishly
They both demanded public displays of loyalty (in Trump's case, everyone
saluting the flag during the national anthem).
They both called for large sums of money to be spent on public works.
They both supported their nation's dominant religion and were supported in
return by religious leaders and their flocks.
They both used the term "love" while sowing discord, hatred and intolerance.
They both were wildly inconsistent; they said whatever suited "the mood of the
They both had no time or use for scruples.
They both were patently unfit to hold any office, yet held the highest
Trumpism is eerily similar to fascism.
Is Trump a Fascist?
by Michael R. Burch
As an editor, publisher and translator of Holocaust poetry, I am
understandably very concerned about any possible resurgence of fascism in the
modern world. But to be honest, I never imagined that it could happen here in
the United States. That assurance, however, was shattered when I heard some of
the things Donald Trump said during his presidential campaign. Knowing what
happened to millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other “undesirables” during
World War II and the Holocaust, I shuddered to think of fascism taking control of
the world’s most powerful military, not to mention thousands of nukes. Is it
possible that Trump is a fascist, as has been suggested by articles in New
, The Nation
other reputable publications? Where there is considerable smoke, may there be
fire as well? But how can we tell? Socrates would tell us that before we enter
into a debate, we must define our terms. So what, exactly, is fascism?
In his essay “Ur-Fascism” (or “Eternal Fascism”), Umberto Eco listed fourteen
properties of fascist ideology. Eco said that “it is enough that one of
them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.” Thus, the presence of
just one fascist trait can be very dangerous. Let’s see how many of the fourteen
seem to apply to Donald Trump ...
(1) “The Cult of Tradition” is characterized by cultural syncretism, even at
the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by
Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and
Trump is so “traditional” that he equated homosexual marriage with
new-fangled golf putters! (Never mind that odd-looking putters and gay marriage
do no harm to anyone.) Trump invokes the cult of tradition when he defends
discrimination against gay marriage. Trump is popular with evangelical Christians—four out of
five evangelicals voted for him according to exit polls—because he embraces the “wisdom” of
their received Tradition. (Never mind that the Bible endorses slavery, sex
slavery, infanticide, matricide and the stoning to death of children!) Trump demands that everyone accept the tradition of
standing during the national anthem. Why? Trump shows no evidence of ever questioning
how he “knows” what he “knows.” He just knows, and there is no higher truth.
Thus, new learning cannot occur.
[Score: Trump 1.0 out of 1.0]
(2) “The Rejection of Modernism” views the rationalistic development of
Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Tribal
"wisdom" trumps science, pardon the pun.
Trump’s evangelical supporters reject homosexual marriage and a woman’s right
to choose as “depravity.” They also claim that Islam is a “false” and “depraved”
religion, while ignoring the many very similar verses in the Bible and Koran.
They insist that climate change is a "hoax," perhaps because their all-powerful
"god" who controls nature would never let it happen. Trump ignores the
evidence-based findings of American intelligence agencies to go with his "gut."
[Score: Trump 2.0 out of 2.0]
(3) “The Cult of Action for Action’s Sake” dictates that action is of value
in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco,
is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in
attacks on modern culture and science.
Trump’s mindless attacks on the EPA, the Climate Action
Plan, the Paris Accords, NATO and the EU are cases in point. While often not
seeming to have any sort of developed plan, Trump loves to be seen as a man of
action, charging forth, even when he appears to be tilting at windmills (as with
the Trump Shutdown over his imaginary border "wall"). Trump's "Muslim ban" is
another example: "In a broad sense this reflects the cult of action for action’s
sake, especially insofar as the pretense that summary discrimination against and
persecution of Muslims writ large for the actions of terrorists amounts to
[Score: Trump 3.0 out of 3.0]
(4) “Disagreement Is Treason” devalues intellectual discourse and critical
reasoning as barriers to action, out of fear that such analysis will expose the
contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith. “In modern culture,” says Eco,
“the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.
For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.”
Trump did not allow peaceful protests at his political rallies and said that
he longed for the days when protesters ended up in the hospital, going as far as
to say that he would like to punch protesters himself. He joined in chants of
“lock her up” after Hillary Clinton confronted him with intellectual and
fact-based arguments that exposed the errors and contradictions in his theories
and plans. As president, Trump has fired all the "adults in the room" in order
to surround himself with yes-men and yes-women.
[Score: Trump 4.0 out of 4.0]
(5) “Fear of Difference” is used to stir up racist sentiments against
foreigners and immigrants.
Trump shot to the top of the polls when in his first campaign speech he
portrayed illegal immigrants as being “rapists” and “drug pushers” with only very
exceptions. Of course that was far from the truth, since illegal
immigrants commit fewer crimes, on a percentage basis, than the general
population. Muslims of all stripes are another Trump target because they are all
seen as potential terrorists: "Trump renders himself cause and cure of the
problem of terrorism through binary Othering of the terrorist peril, an approach
that also appeals to popular fear of difference." This fear of the Other led to
Trump's infamous "Muslim ban."
[Score: Trump 5.0 out of 5.0]
(6) “Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class” who fear economic pressure from the
demands and aspirations of lower social groups. "Ur-Fascism derives from
individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features
of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class
suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and
frightened by the pressure of lower social groups."
One may postulate that this is how Trump won the presidential election: by
focusing on Rust Belt “swing” states where the white middle-class had lost jobs
and their employment prospects were less than
Trump "in response to the economic problems created by the gutting of
manufacturing and related industries amidst the emergence of neoliberal
globalization" was able to create effective "appeals to a frustrated middle
[Score: Trump 6.0 out of 6.0]
(7) “Obsession with a Plot” and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. “The
followers must feel besieged,” Eco wrote, “but the plot must come from the
inside.” During the Cold War, it was “reds under the beds.” Now the interior
threats include “the mainstream media” and the “deep state.”
Has there ever been an American presidential candidate with more “theories”
about plots against his person? Trump has also hyped all sorts of “threats”
against the United States, which—according to him—
only he can save us from.
Trump has repeatedly referred to "the political establishment" who are variously
"trying to stop him" and who are "responsible for the economic and foreign
policies that have bled our country dry" and have "brought about the destruction
of our factories and our jobs." Since becoming president Trump has, on virtually
a daily basis, claimed to be the victim of “witch hunts” by rogue journalists
and intelligence agencies.
[Score: Trump 7.0 out of 7.0]
(8) Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as “at the same time
too strong and too weak.” On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain
disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and
humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those
elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming
Trump at times portrayed Hillary Clinton as old and feeble, but at other
times as so powerful that she alone was personally responsible for everything
that ever went wrong in the Middle East! As president Trump has claimed The
New York Times
is a "failing" enterprise, while also claiming he needs to
be protected from all the mean journalists who write bad things about him. Trump
will claim one day that ISIS is powerless and defeated, then talk about what
must be done to defeat ISIS the next.
[Score: Trump 8.0 out of 8.0]
(9) “Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy” because “Life is Permanent
Warfare” and thus there must always be an enemy to fight.
Trump has exaggerated both dangers abroad and dangers at home. Those
“dangers” make a “man of action” like Trump a necessity, if we are to believe
him. Trump has said that only he can save Americans from immigration, terrorism,
being taken advantage of by bad trade deals, etc. For Trump, life is permanent
warfare. He once tweeted a Mussolini quote: “It is better to live one day as a
lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
[Score: Trump 9.0 out of 9.0]
(10) “Contempt for the Weak” is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic
popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by
virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a
deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as
they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the Ultimate Leader
who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by
Trump frequently shows his disdain for the people around him, including his
employees. For instance, a reporter noted that as a private citizen Trump called his pilots “idiots”
when he experienced bumpy landings. But Trump at times lauds his followers,
claiming that he “loves” them and they “love” him. There does seem to be deep
tension, as one gets the impression that Trump disdains nearly everyone and only
compliments people who agree with and obey him. Thus Steve Bannon is “my Steve”
when he agrees with Trump but “Sloppy Steve” and someone who has “lost his mind”
when he disagrees with Trump or criticizes him.
[Score: Trump 10.0 out of 10.0]
(11) “Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero” in the embrace of a cult of
death. As Eco observes, “the Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his
impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.”
This can be seen in the Trump brand of militarism: "Trumpism also invokes
the hero/death binary of militarism." Trump’s first national security advisor,
Michael Flynn, said the United States is engaged in a "world war" with Islam.
Steve Bannon said war with China over tiny man-made islands was inevitable. Trump
himself seems ready, willing and able to send many people to their deaths—including completely
innocent refugee children and their parents. But I see no evidence that Trump
longs for death himself, so perhaps this point does not fully apply.
[Score: Trump 10.5 out of 11.0]
(12) “Machismo” sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and
heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold “both disdain for women and
intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to
I cannot remember an American presidential candidate ever speaking of women
with such disdain, or bragging about kissing and groping them without their
consent. Nor can I remember any American politician in any sphere who bragged so
publicly about his sexual conquests and the size and performance of his sexual
[Score: Trump 11.5 out of 12.0]
(13) “Selective Populism” in which the People, conceived monolithically, have
a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual.
no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as
the interpreter of the popular will (although in reality he dictates it). Fascists use
this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of “no longer
representing the Voice of the People.” Thus, in effect, the Leader speaks for
the people and the people become like an audience watching a play in which their
only role is to applaud on cue. We can see this during World War II when
Hitler's was the only German voice that mattered.
Trump has been leading the American public down the dark path of racism and
xenophobia. According to him, all other American politicians have been
incompetent and only he can speak for the People, and lead them back to the
Promised Land of American Greatness. It is Trump who defines and interprets the
Common Will of the people who will "make America great again" by watching Trump
and applauding. His brand of populism is very selective: "Trump’s contempt for
the weak associated with his popular elitism manifests as anti-immigrant
xenophobia and Islamophobia, both of which in this instance serve as convenient
vehicles for moral panicking and scapegoating. In displaying little apparent
interest in the welfare of Muslims and illegal immigrants, Trump’s populism
appears highly selective — limited in fact to whites and those able to claim
[Score: Trump 12.5 out of 13.0]
(14) “Newspeak” in which Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished
vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
Trump’s tweets are a rather obvious case in point here. Also, Kellyanne
Conway and Steve Bannon have warned the American media to “shut up” and not
question Trump. Trump had journalists quarantined in pens at his campaign
rallies. One of Trump’s main goals seems to be forcing the media to stop
[Score: Trump 13.5 out of 14.0]
In conclusion, according to Umberto Eco’s definition, it
really does seem that Donald Trump is a fascist. I give him 13.5 points out of
14, deducting half a point because I can't say
he has a personal death wish. That 13.5 rating makes Trump a very dangerous
person, since he is now commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military
and the nuclear codes.
After I created this page, a reader observed: "I have been rereading your piece
comparing Tweety to Mussolini and noted that some of the identifying marks of
the fascist mentality Eco enumerates have presented more clearly in Tweety since
you wrote the article. Selective populism and contempt for the weak are
considerably more pronounced in Tweety's will to dominate at this stage. His
relentless assaults on the press, his calling this one or that one "weak," like
Trudeau or Cohen for example. There is really no doubt at all that by Eco's
criteria Tweety is a fascist. But in other categories too his true colors have
become much more vivid."
Other fascists to whom Trump has been compared include:
"Trump is more like [Hermann] Goering in attitude and temperament: pompous, full of
himself, and attracted to power."
"There are plenty of parallels between Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump: both
are tycoons-turned-politicians who espouse lower taxes, less government
regulation, and tighter controls on immigration; both have frequently boasted
about their multiple romantic partners; and both evince a high regard for
themselves and Vladimir Putin. Turns out, they also say lots of things that are
strikingly similar."—Nick Rigillo in Bloomberg
Republican Senator Jeff Flake slammed Donald Trump in a speech on the Senate
floor for using Joseph Stalin's words to attack press freedom.
The portrait Alexis de Tocqueville draws of Louis Napoleon looks strikingly like
Donald Trump: He “changed course frequently, first advancing, then hesitating,
then pulling back, to his great detriment.” His mind “was inconsistent and
confused, filled with large but ill-assorted ideas which he borrowed [from]
. . . very different and often contradictory sources.” He was “fond of
flatterers” but nevertheless “trusted in his own star.”
"I still think Tweety is more in the mold of Louis XIV. Their decorative tastes
are similar. Maybe Tweety at bottom is just a decorator."
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Trackdown Trump: Did a 1958 TV Show Predict Trump?