Republished with permission from Lucian K. Truscott IV
I have been harping on the language Hitler used against Jews and intellectuals and “homosexuals” (Hitler’s word), communists, Marxists, the indigent, the mentally retarded (again, Hitler’s characterization), Romanis, and others held as undesirable. Hitler urged his German followers to “care for the purity of their own blood” in his implementation of the Nuremberg laws that stripped Jews of German citizenship and forbade intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. After their initial passage, the Nuremberg laws were expanded to include Romani and Black people. These laws are what Hitler used as the basis for his “final solution” that killed millions of Jews and others.
Donald Trump, in his speech on Saturday in New Hampshire, once again aped Hitler by accusing immigrants of “poisoning the blood of our country.” Trump went on to say other disgusting and of course untrue things in his speech, including a ringing endorsement from Vladimir Putin that he seemed extraordinarily pleased with: “It shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy,” Putin said of the prosecution of his friend Trump. The odious Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, also came in for praise for his slamming of immigration for causing the “mixing” of the European race.
All of that would be bad enough, but it is the reaction to Trump’s use of fascist language again and again and again that really rankles. Our media is acting as if Trump is not a real threat. They’ve got their fingers in their ears and their eyes closed as they write headlines and print and broadcast stories that say, “it can’t happen here,” “it’s not real,” and “it’s just Trump being Trump.”
Here is the headline on the story in the New York Times covering Trump’s New Hampshire speech: “Trump, Quoting Putin, Declares Indictments ‘Politically Motivated Persecution’.” Here is CNN: “Trump quotes Putin to call Biden ‘threat to democracy,’ reiterates anti-immigrant rhetoric at New Hampshire rally.”
Politically motivated prosecution?
Trump is not just anti-immigrant. He is a hateful white supremacist and a fascist who no longer hides his open admiration of Adolph Hitler. Putin is an enemy of the United States and his comment was anti-American. Trump quoting him or Orban favorably is unpatriotic and anti-American in the extreme.
A reference to “poisoning the blood of our country” was an even dozen paragraphs down in the Times story, after they had given a whole paragraph to a new Trump slogan he used at the New Hampshire Rally, “Better Off With Trump.” This is called horse-race coverage, where the political import of everything is put ahead of whether what a candidate says is true, makes sense, or is morally acceptable. The Times cited the prosecution of the president’s son Hunter in explaining why the Department of Department of Justice is not being controlled by Biden’s White House.
Folks, what is happening between the DOJ and the White House may be important, and it may be an issue in the campaign because Donald Trump has made it an issue, but it pales in comparison to Trump’s naked pursuit of an authoritarian agenda that includes rounding up tens of millions of immigrants and promising to prosecute his political opponents if he is elected, which is pure, unadulterated fascism.
To put it simply, the major news outlets—and here I would put at the top the New York Times because of its outsize influence on the rest of American journalism—need to be on top of Trump’s authoritarianism and should be quoting his usage of Hitlerian language in its headlines as just that: “Trump made another reference to the racist and anti-Semitic murderer Adolph Hitler in a speech today.” “Trump quoted the leader of one of America’s enemies, Vladimir Putin, as endorsing him today.”
The New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and all the rest of the so-called mainstream media should be covering Donald Trump using the Justice Potter Stewart test, who wrote in a Supreme Court opinion about pornography, “I’ll know it when I see it.”
These news outlets know what Donald Trump is doing. He is threatening a fascist takeover of the American government if elected. He has already said he will act as a “dictator on day one,” and he should be covered as if he means it, because he does. In praising Victor Orban, Trump is admiring a man who has taken over much of the Hungarian media and controls how he is covered politically. Putin has done even more: he nationalized entire segments of the media and has jailed journalists, including foreign journalists working for American media outlets. And this is the man Trump makes no bones about patterning his administration on if elected to the presidency of the United States.
This is not just serious business for journalists. It is existential, and not just for journalists and their employers, but for the entire country. The Times and other publications are acting as if this is just another campaign year, just another candidate to cover. I haven’t seen a reference to Trump’s rally cry of “lock her up” in the 2016 election even once, though that is exactly what Trump is proposing to do to Joe Biden if he takes office in 2025.
Joe Biden’s White House response to Trump’s fascist campaign has been sporadic and less forceful than it should be, although deputy press secretary Andrew Bates’ accurately described Trump’s celebration of racism and fascism in New Hampshire on Saturday: “Echoing the grotesque rhetoric of fascists and violent white supremacists and threatening to oppress those who disagree with the government are dangerous attacks on the dignity and rights of all Americans, on our democracy, and on public safety.” The media should have been as forceful as Bates was in its lame coverage of Trump.
Trump’s speech isn’t just rhetoric, it is part of an on-going fascist war against the soul of America, and we need Joe Biden to go on the record, on television—every single day if necessary—to tell the American people in simple, direct language what Donald Trump is doing. He should start referring to “Trump’s so-called campaign,” because that’s what it is. He isn’t running for office so much as he is running from prosecution. He wants to be president so he can keep himself out of prison and prevent the bankruptcy of his businesses. He wants to continue to loot the public coffers by misusing the office of the presidency to enrich himself. He wants to go back to using Air Force One as an aerial Uber he can call to fly himself to an endless string of golfing vacations—more than 300, the last time he was in office.
But more than anything, Biden should call him out for being what he is: a little boy who wants to be accepted by the big boy dictators he so admires like Putin and Orban and Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un.
Joe Biden needs to jack up his campaign staff with the reality he, and we, are facing. Sure, they should be appealing to voters with all of Biden’s accomplishments; they should be warning voters of the threat to their rights that Trump represents; they should be campaigning with television ads and online appeals and all the rest of it.
Joe Biden needs to do more than use a deputy press secretary to denounce Trump in a written statement. He needs to show up in people’s living rooms on television over and over to make the point that Trump is not just his political opponent but an unpatriotic racist and a fascist. Fight back, Mr. President. He’s lying about you, he is lying about us, and he is a threat to our freedoms and our system of government. Repetition works. Shout the truth about Trump at the top of your lungs until people get it.
Lucian K. Truscott IV
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives in rural Pennsylvania and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better.