The rolling train known as the Trump presidential campaign continues to steam onwards, but the would-be presidential candidate’s decision to quote Benito Mussolini, the man who created the Fascist Party and became one of Adolf Hitler’s allies in World War II, needs examination.
While there is little doubt the quote calls people to action in determining their own paths and to cease being a mass of blind followers, the fact that Trump pulled the quote from Mussolini when there are countless other powerful quotes about leadership that he could have used rightfully deserves some thought.
NPR reports that during an appearance with Jake Tapper, Trump admitted to using the Mussolini quote simply because it was a powerful quote, but the admission led to an unexpected conversation about white supremacists. Tapper brought up the fact that former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke had said voting against Trump would be treason to America’s heritage, and as the Anti-Defamation League asked Trump to repudiate the statement, Trump said he knew little about the white supremacy group.
“I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” Trump said, according to CNN. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I’d have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. You may have groups in there that are totally fine — it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.”
Interestingly, Trump was called out for his Mussolini quote on Twitter, and Trump said that he simply wanted to be associated with interesting quotes, not with fascist dictators. He also noted that the quote was effective in getting the attention of his Twitter audience, and that of others.
According to Biography, Mussolini integrated anti-Jewish policies in Italy during the time of World War II while he closely aligned himself with Hitler’s policies. However, Italy’s resources were stretched to its fullest extent, and “German military intervention in early 1941 saved Mussolini from a military coup.” It was Mussolini’s own people that ultimately tore the dictator apart, and by April, 1945, Mussolini was killed along with his mistress.
Several Twitter users are tweeting their distaste of Trump, particularly in the wake of the Mussolini quote, and reminding the multi-millionaire that history does tend to repeat itself.
The New York Times reported that Trump, who is an avid Twitter user, has made several missteps in his social media appearances, as he has reportedly tweeted quotes from a range of accounts with ties to white nationalists. In spite of these potential public relations flubs, which includes the Mussolini quote, Trump’s supporters are standing by their man.
The Wall Street Journal says that Trump supporters are not concerned that Trump has yet to reveal his platform or his plans, as he does not need to be in a rush to lay his cards out on the table.
“You don’t want to lay your cards on the table, with your ideas, or somebody will take them,” said David Gregory, 53, of Trump’s current course through his presidential campaign.
It would appear, then, that the Mussolini quote may do little to harm Trump’s overall appeal to his potential audience. Perhaps Trump is following another piece of advice from Mussolini, as posted on Goodreads: “You must always be doing things and obviously succeeding. The hard part is to keep people always at the window because of the spectacle you put on for them. And you must do this for years.”
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