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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.

And there are many other striking parallels besides their looks, as we will see together. For instance, their signatures are eerily similar, as you can see in an image below. At the bottom of the page, I have applied Umberto Eco's 14-point checklist of fascist traits to Trump and given him a grade.

Fascists of a feather
flock together.
—Michael R. Burch

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 bald, doltish apes!

The Mussolini quote about creating a spectacle "at the window" seems especially pertinent after Trump, while still infected with the coronavirus and thus a danger to everyone around him, posed for a photo-op behind the window of his armored SUV, then returned to the White House for a balcony spectacle eerily similar to those of Mussolini. As one critic noted, "To anyone with a sense of history, the echo of Mussolini on the balcony of Rome’s Palazzo Venezia is unmistakable." It was from the Palazzo Venezia balcony that Mussolini presided over the destruction of Italy and the deaths of half a million Italians during WWII. His doppelganger Trump presided over the deaths of 400,000 Americans on his watch, due to the coronavirus. No, Trump didn't create this modern plague, but according to three independent teams of epidemiologists, 84% to over 90% of those lives could have been saved if Trump had acted faster and more decisively. Nations like Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Norway and South Korea proved the experts correct, with tremendously lower per-capita death rates than the United States. Hell, even much poorer African nations Trump called "shitholes" had tremendously lower per-capita death rates than Trump's America. Thus with his lethal lies and bungling mismanagement, Trump contributed to 336,000 to 360,000 deaths of his fellow Americans.

ᒪIᘔᗩᗷEᒪᒪᗩ 🌊💙💪🏼🌈🌊🐾🐱🐾🐶🐾🐨🐾🌊🌈💪🏼💙🌊 on Twitter: "Mango  Mussolini on the balcony #MussoliniMoment… "

Trump, who has been called Cadet Bone Spurs for dodging the draft and sending other men to fight and die in his place in Vietnam, later insulted every American POW by saying he only likes soldiers who weren't captured. Of course Trump only avoided being captured by cheating. Trump also called America's valiant war dead "losers" and "suckers." But he loves to throw buffoonish salutes, as in the balcony picture above.

Donald Trump's grandfather was evicted from Germany for draft-dodging and tax evasion. His father, Fred Trump, an anchor baby conceived in Germany, never served his adoptive country after being taken in as a stateless refugee, but grew up to overbill its government when building federal housing projects. Donald Trump continues the worst of his family's traditions.

Donald Trump is a chip off the old blockhead. — Michael R. Burch

Trump and Mussolini had the same carriage and posture, even the same chin tilt ...

Please note that in the picture above George C. Scott is portraying Mussolini. However, Scott was an Oscar-winning actor who studied Mussolini's carriage and posture, and the resemblance to Trump is, indeed, striking.

Another parallel is their nicknames: Il Duce and Ill Douche!

Such similarities have not gone unnoticed, because other Trump nicknames include Casino Mussolini (coined by Samantha Bee), Hair Mousse-olini, Mouse-olini, Mango Mussolini, Cheeto Benito, Cheat-o Benito, Benito Cheetolini and Benito Trumpolini. Then there's my personal favorite: Stenchy Decaying Maggot-Infested Halloween Pumpkin Mussolini Wannabe.

A Specter Haunting America: Trump and Italian Fascism – La Voce di New York

Once again, in the picture above, imagine Trump without the scalp reduction and hair plugs. Over and over, we see the striking resemblance between two egomaniacal madmen ...

BOOKS: The Donald as Il Duce | Post Alley

Trump’s real goals are obvious
and yet millions of Americans remain oblivious.
—Michael R. Burch

Of course there are similarities in actions as well as appearances. Trump's strong similarities with Mussolini and other despots include: (1) Trump's Mussolini-like preoccupation with his own image and his development of "a cult of one-man leadership that focused media attention and national debate" on his person via exploitation of all forms of mass media including new technologies; (2) Trump's Mussolini-like love of theatricality and spectacles such as parades, rallies, and flyovers; (3) Trump playing simultaneously both Superman and victim, as did Mussolini and Hitler; (4) Trump's racist belief in his "superior" genes and his fear and loathing of other races; (5) Trump's ultra-nationalism; (6) Trump's repetition of "simple, emotionally powerful yet substantively empty" slogans; (7) Trump's relentless disinformation campaigns; (8) Trump's celebration of violence against journalists and dissenters; (9) Trump's often-stated desire to "lock up" his political opponents on bogus charges; (10) Trump's desire to "dominate the streets," which Mussolini did with blackshirts and Hitler with brownshirts; (11) Trump's purges of all but fawning sycophants; (12) Trump's favoring of the rich over the middle class and poor; (13) Trump's refusal to accept a democratic transfer of power; and (14) Trump's appeal to armed militias loyal to his person rather than the country and his incitement of such armed militias, which we saw most clearly when he instigated an attack on the US Capitol building that led to five deaths and around 50 police officers being injured after they were assaulted with fire extinguishers, pipes, chemicals and other dangerous weapons. One is reminded of Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, except that this riot occurred in the middle of a joint session of Congress. "I've been an election observer in broken authoritarian countries, and let me tell you: Trump's behavior would be swiftly and unequivocally condemned by all international election monitors if it was happening elsewhere. He is behaving like the despots past presidents condemned," Brian Klaas, a political scientist at the University College London, said in a tweet.

When Rachel Maddow asked historian Michael Beschloss to provide an example of any other US president ever suggesting that an election "ought to be disregarded," he could not provide such an example and instead immediately mentioned the Italian fascist Mussolini.

It also bears noting that Mussolini abandoned Italian democracy and became a dictator when he faced being jailed for corruption; Trump is rather obviously attempting the same thing for the same reason. The Trump-inspired attack on the Capitol building is very much reminiscent of Mussolini's march on Rome, except that so far the US government has not capitulated.

Here's another eerie similarity, in an excerpt from The New Yorker: Please keep in mind that Trump signs his name with a Sharpie, while Mussolini evidently used something less "sharp." If we allow for the difference in instruments, the likeness is even more remarkable.

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.” During her comparison of the pair 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.

Does any other country have a precedent for the Trump phenomenon that the  US is experiencing? - Quora

It bears noting that Italy was the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Europe and that the United States is now the global epicenter. People of faith once voted for Mussolini and Hitler. We all know what happened to Italy and Germany as a result. Is the coronavirus a random act of nature, or perhaps a judgment on Americans for electing a president who is the exact opposite of Jesus Christ in every way, and therefore the definition of an Antichrist? Each reader will have to form his/her own conclusions, but the Bible does say that God's wrath will be poured out on those who support Antichrists, and that one form of that wrath will be a terrible plague. And the Bible doesn't say there will be only one Antichrist, but many Antichrists in the last days (1 John 2:18). Other Antichrists have been defeated via terrible world wars, but this one can be defeated democratically, at the polls. If you are a person of faith who believes the Bible, you may want to consider the MANY startling connections of Trump and his family to the number 666, as explained on this page: Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?

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.

Donald Trump Coronavirus Timeline and History

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 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

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 has written 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 so that he has never been wrong about anything and has never made mistakes; (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 vain, blundering boaster without either ideas or aims."

According to the 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts who authored The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, he is like Hitler, Mussolini and other leaders with cultish followers in important respects: (1) Trump craves attention and has a "mirror-hungry" leader personality; (2) his followers perceive Trump as a superhuman who is above the law and the need for morality or even common decency; (3) his followers blindly believe Trump's wild assertion, however untrue; (4) his followers blindly comply with Trump's directives for action; (5) his followers provide Trump with unqualified emotional support (he can "feel the love" when he's surrounded by his base).

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.

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 nothing.

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 two years: Trump Christmas.

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 nation.
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 arrogant contempt."
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 leader.
Like Mussolini, Trump has had multiple wives, several mistressses and scores of adulterous affairs. 
Like Mussolini, Trump is working to strengthen laws against abortions, forcing girls and women to bear children they don't want and/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 Jared Kushner as his primary foreign minister in the Middle East, the source of 9-11 and two bloody, trillion-dollar wars.

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 any bells?

Other Parallels

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 military interventions.
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 unfairly.
They both advocated an aggressive foreign policy to arrest a purported national decline.
They both painted a picture of a society in crisis that needed a strong leader to save it (i.e., themselves).
They both stoked racial animosities and grievances of the majority against minorities.
They both favored the "stick" over the "carrot" in dealing with unwanted "inferior" people.
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 themselves.
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 moment."
They both had no time or use for scruples.
They both were patently unfit to hold any office, yet held the highest office nonetheless.
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 Republic, The Nation and 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 refinement.

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 'doing something.'" 

[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 limited 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 optimal. 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 class."

[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 popular will.

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 force.

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]

At the time I originally graded Trump using this checklist, I didn't see anything that suggested he had a personal death wish. However, since Trump risked his own life along with many others by refusing to wear a mask and practice social distancing, I think he could be given a full point here.

(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 homosexuality.”

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 organ.

[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. Because 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 whiteness."

[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 criticizing him.

[Score: Trump 13.5 out of 14.0 or 14.0 out of 14.0]

In conclusion, according to Umberto Eco’s definition, it really does seem that Donald Trump is a fascist. I initially gave Trump 13.5 points out of 14, deducting half a point because I couldn't say that 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. However, as I noted in item #11, I think Trump could be given a full point since he exhibited a personal death wish during the coronavirus pandemic when he refused to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Thus I now believe Trump has earned a perfect 14 out of 14.

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. [But] 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." 

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.”

Donald Trump Poems

modern Midas
by michael r. burch

they say there’s no one left alive
but the Hermit survived:
the last of His kind,
clean out of His mind.
they say He relentlessly washes His fingers,
dainty as ever, yet the smell of death still lingers.
they say it sets off His corona of hair
when He blanches with fear in his Mansion Faire.
they say He still spritzes each strand into place
though there’s no one to see in that hellish place.
they say there’s a moral in what He’s become
as He fondles gold trinkets and cradles His john.

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