Heil Trump! — no, really; watch the video…

We’ve spoken before about the undertones of fascism in the appeal of Donald Trump. (Or maybe I just Tweeted about it; I’m not immediately finding the previous reference.)

Now there’s this, which somehow I missed over the weekend and didn’t see until today.

From the latest column by Dana Milbank:

So it has come to this: The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, at a campaign rally Saturday in Orlando, leading supporters in what looked very much like a fascist salute.

“Can I have a pledge? A swearing?” Trump asked, raising his right hand and directing his followers to do the same. He then led them in pledging allegiance — not to the flag but to Trump, for which they stand and for whom they vowed to vote.

Benito Mussolini (1883 - 1945) the Italian dictator in 1934. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Benito Mussolini (1883 – 1945) the Italian dictator in 1934. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Trump supporters raised their arms en masse — unfortunately evoking the sort of scene associated with grainy newsreels from Italy and Germany.

Among those not engaging in such ominous imagery were the demonstrators, who, by my colleague Jenna Johnson’s account, interrupted Trump’s event more than a dozen times. The candidate watched a supporter grab and attempt to tackle protesters, at least one of them black, near the stage. “You know, we have a divided country, folks,” Trump said. “We have a terrible president who happens to be African American.”

Loaded imagery, violence against dissenters and a racial attack on the president: It’s all in a day’s work for Trump….

If you watch that video and let it go on to autoplay the next one, you’ll hear the bit that goes, “We have a terrible president who happens to be African American.” You don’t want to miss that one, either.

Yeah, he’s a buffoon. But so was Mussolini. Hitler, too, but I think the Mussolini comparison is more apt. All that comic-opera strutting and mugging…

37 thoughts on “Heil Trump! — no, really; watch the video…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Forget the visuals for a moment.

    Who would EVER consider, even for a second, voting for someone who would stand before a crowd and say, ““Can I have a pledge? A swearing?” — and then the pledge be, not to an ideal or a cause or to the country, but to HIM, the guy who is proposed the pledge?

    Anyone with a faint trace of self-respect would laugh in his face and turn away. But these people don’t.

    And worse, far worse, they go along. They raise their hands, and they obediently, like sheep, repeat after him. And then cheer themselves for having done so!

    It’s behavior that would make a lemming blush…

    1. Mark Stewart

      I’ve been thinking about the herd mentality on display here this Primary season.

      It’s like goats for Trump, sheep for Bernie and cows for Cruz. Or something like that.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Donkeys. Not meant negatively, the donkey is among the smartest of the herd animals. But they are stubborn and their stamina to take heavy loads and plod on is extreme.

            And sorry, Bud, I did start the riff. So for you Bush’s herd would have been unicorns.

    2. Howard

      Then there are the people who think Hitlery Clinton would be a good leader… maybe if we were North Korea. Or that whack job Bernie Sanders, the guy with the Robin Hood mentality.

      Speaking of Hitlery Clinton, I just finished watching House of Cards last night… don’t know why one reminds me of the other.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Howard, I don’t think we have a good situation in either party, and I’m very worried for the country.

        I think Hillary has a better resume than anyone on the GOP side other than Kasich, but she just has so much baggage, and her relationship would be so horrible with the Republicans in Congress from Day One, and the country just does not need more of that pointless antagonism. Doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, the antagonism is there, and bad for the country.

        As for House of Cards, I haven’t started watching the new season. I have to be in exactly the right mood for that, as everybody in the series is so awful. I’m a little bit the same way with Walking Dead — I can get into it for awhile, but then I just have to quit because it’s so depressing…

        1. Barry

          I’ve just started watching it (first season) since we are trying out a free month trial of Netflix. Solid so far.

      2. bud

        Clinton is probably the best qualified candidate ever to run for POTUS. Most of the attacks (Whitewater, Benghazi) against her have been thoroughly discredited. The whole email thing probably will soon be as well. She has well thought out plans for how to proceed forward to engender a productive domestic agenda that works for all Americans, not just the rich. She will do so in a pragmatic, sensible manner. Her foreign policy will build on the successes of the Obama administration by seeking common ground with our adversaries and mutual, constructive trade policies with our friends.

        This is not to say that I don’t have concerns with Ms. Clinton. Her speeches to Wall Street are troubling. She’s demonstrated an excessive hawkish streak in the past. But all in all she has the temperament and experience to make a fine president. With the cooperation of congress, hopefully a Democratic congress, she may prove to be a fantastic president. That is something that will not be the case with anyone in the party of Nixon and W. (Perhaps instead of GOP we can call in the PNW).

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Bryan, just how much time would you say you spend on these TPS reports?

            And off the top of my head, I’d say John Quincy Adams may have been the best qualified…

    3. Barry

      Trump thinks being President means the people serve him, not the other way around.

      Just one of many reasons to avoid voting for him.

      1. Howard

        Barry, so you think Hillary is any different? There’s no reason why she shouldn’t be in prison right now.

  2. Rose

    Given the enthusiastic support of white supremacists for Trump, I’m certain that there were plenty of actual Nazi salutes in the crowd. I have intensely disliked presidents and presidential candidates, but this year I’m terrified.

    1. Howard

      Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill… this paranoia is just getting stupid.

      Nothing said about the black supremacists supporting Hillary? With 90+% of the black vote you know she’s getting the majority of the black radical vote.

      How can someone be terrified about an election? For the average person in this country not one thing will change. It’s not like it’s going to be martial law beginning on inauguration day regardless of who wins. If Trump wins, Democrats won’t do anything to support him, if Clinton wins Republicans won’t do anything to support her… so it’ll be just like the last 8 years. The only thing this election will change will be Supreme Court justices.

  3. Norm Ivey

    I’m no fan of Trump and his disturbing rhetoric, but the idea that this pledge was akin to Hitler’s salute strikes me as reaching. It’s more an example of call-and-response. If he said “Can I get an A-men?” I doubt there’d be any discussion of it at all. He’s scary for a lot of reasons, but not because he asked a crowd to pledge their votes to him.

    And while we’re at it, lemmings do not intentionally run off cliffs. They do, however, sometimes fall off cliffs and drown in waters too large for them to swim. They’re stupid, not nihilistic.

    Perhaps the analogy is accurate after all.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            I was…just asking if he’d heard of it. Not everything is a lawyerly trap leading up to a crushing rebuttal. 🙂

  4. Mprince

    Il Donald is the closest thing we’ve come to an American fascist. And it’s more than just a matter of style. Here’s how one historian defines historical fascism — so we can see how Trump stacks up —
    Fascism involves:
    1) the celebration of willpower and violence – check
    2) fierce nationalism feeding on the bitter fruits of war — check
    3) shrewd manipulation of mass politics – check
    4) a cult of the dynamic leader — checks in spades!

    1. Doug Ross


      1. The celebration of class envy and redistribution of wealth
      2. Fierce socialism feeding on the jealousy of the fruits of others’ labor
      3. shrewd manipulation of mass media
      4. a cult of a dynamic leader

      Feel the Bern!

    1. Scout

      That is a good article. I have instincts that match this article but could never have put it in words like that. I kind of was hoping that when Trump basically insulted George W. Bush at the debate here before our primary that he might have alienated some of his supporters – severed that gut connection like Friedman says – since so many people here really like Bush. But it apparently didn’t happen. I kind of wonder if the people who are his base supporters even watch debates. Trump is such a wild card – such an equal opportunity insulter – that I can’t help but think he may reflexively insult his own followers at some point. I guess the question is, will they even notice?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Interesting quiz.

      I ended up with a 2.8, with the comment, “You are a liberal airhead.”

      Which surprised me. I was a little bit worried it would find me at least mildly authoritarian.

      That’s because my objections to some things that I recognized as common to fascists — such as deep respect for bourgeois values — were mild in most cases. And sometimes I even “agreed somewhat” with them.

      I only checked “Disagree Strongly” to three or four statements, such as “What this country needs most, more than laws and political programs, is a few courageous, tireless, devoted leaders in whom the people can put their faith,” and “Homosexuals are hardly better than criminals and ought to be severely punished.”

      I was wishy-washy on other more-or-less fascist statements. For instance, I only disagreed “somewhat” to “What the youth needs most is strict discipline, rugged determination, and the will to work and fight for family and country.” Because, you know, some of those qualities can be helpful. I’d just tone it down some.

      Actually, reading that again, maybe I should have said, “Disagree mostly.”

      See what a wishy-washy airhead I am?


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