Trump calls his political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler and Mussolini

By | November 13, 2023

Former president Donald Trump denigrated his domestic opponents and critics during a Veterans Day speech Saturday, calling those on the other side of the aisle “vermin” and suggesting they pose a greater threat to the United States. United as countries like Russia, China or North Korea. This language is criticized by historians, who compare it to that of authoritarian leaders.

“We promise you that we will eliminate the communists, the Marxists, the fascists, and the radical left thugs who live like vermin within the confines of our country and who lie, steal, and cheat in elections,” Trump said around the end of his speech. repeating his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “They will do anything, legally or illegally, to destroy America and the American dream.”

Trump went on to say: “The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and serious than the threat from within. Our threat comes from within. Because if you have a capable, competent, smart, tough leader, Russia, China, North Korea, they won’t want to play with us.”

The former president’s speech in Claremont, NH, echoed his message of revenge and grievance, as he called himself a “very proud election denier” and denounced his legal entanglements, once again attacking the judge in a New York civil trial and renewing his attacks on special counsel Jack Smith. In his speech, Trump once again presented himself as a victim of a political system that preys on him and his supporters.

Yet Trump’s use of the word “vermin” both in his speech and in a Truth Social article on Saturday drew particularly negative reactions.

“This language is the language that dictators use to sow fear,” said Timothy Naftali, a senior fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “When you dehumanize an opponent, you deprive them of their constitutional right to safely participate in a democracy because you say they are not human. This is what dictators do.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said in an email to the Washington Post that “calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their supporters to engage in violence.

“Trump also uses projection: note that he evokes all kinds of authoritarians ‘communists, Marxists, fascists and radical left’ to set himself up as a liberator of freedom,” Ben-Ghiat said. “Mussolini also promised freedom to his people, then declared dictatorship.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, told the Post: “Those who are trying to make this ridiculous claim are clearly snowflakes out for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House. »

Trump has also recently received widespread criticism and condemnation from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League for saying in an interview that undocumented immigrants are “poison the blood of our country.”

Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s oldest Hispanic civil rights group, said at the time that Trump’s comments about blood indicated his language was “becoming more extreme.” , comparing it to Nazi propaganda about the Jewish people. .

Trump’s controversial rhetoric comes as he remains the undisputed poll leader in the flagging GOP primary field and he and his allies have already begun finding ways for the federal government to punish his critics and opponents. he reconquers the White House next November. The Post recently reported that Trump — who faces 91 charges in four criminal cases — was appointing people he wanted investigate and prosecuteand his associates are hatching plans to possibly invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office, which would allow him to deploy the military in response to civilian protests.

In addition to attacking the “radical left,” he also spent part of the New Hampshire speech attacking a New York judge overseeing his civil fraud case, calling New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), of “disaster” and reiterating its descriptions. of Smith as “disturbed.” Smith filed two indictments against Trump: one in a case accusing Trump of illegally accumulating classified documents and the other alleging that he sought to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power by seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, which led to the January 62021, attack on the US Capitol.

“The prosecutor who hates Trump in this case, his wife and his family despise me much more than he does and I think he’s about ten years old,” he said. “They have a rating of about 15, on a scale of ten. …He is a disgrace to America.

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