Trump Slammed for Using Dictator-Like Language and Calling His Political Opponents Slanderous Names
Former President Donald Trump is under fire as he uses language that echoes that of Hitler and Mussolini.
During a Veterans Day speech on November 11, Trump called his domestic opponents and critics “vermin” and said that they represent a larger threat to the United States than countries such as Russia, China, or North Korea. Historians have slammed the terminology, comparing it to that of totalitarian dictators, The Washington Post reported.
On Veterans Day, Trump pledged to "root out" his political opponents, saying that they, “live like vermin within the confines of our country."— Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 13, 2023
Make no mistake, this is the dehumanizing language of fascism. pic.twitter.com/bknEmfyvlP
“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said as he went on to repeat his fallacious, unproven claims of the "rigged and stolen" 2020 elections. “They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream.”
Further, he went on to say that “the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within. Because if you have a capable, competent, smart, tough leader, Russia, China, or North Korea, they’re not going to want to play with us.”
Trump's usage of the word “vermin” in both his address and a Truth Social post sparked outrage. “The language is the language that dictators use to instill fear,” Timothy Naftali, who is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, said. “When you dehumanize an opponent, you strip them of their constitutional rights to participate securely in a democracy because you’re saying they’re not human. That’s what dictators do.”
“Calling people 'vermin' was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini,” historian and NYU professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat shared, “to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.” Ben-Ghiat further explained, “Trump is also using projection; note that he mentions all kinds of authoritarians—'communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left'—to set himself up as the deliverer of freedom. Mussolini promised freedom to his people too and then declared dictatorship.”
Bash: Trump is calling people who oppose him ‘vermin,’ which was a term used by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to go after them pic.twitter.com/sKYfMjhB7b— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) November 13, 2023
Trump's inflammatory remarks come at a time when he continues to dominate the GOP primary field in polls. Trump previously garnered tremendous criticism and condemnation from organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League after saying in an interview that undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” Domingo Garcia, head of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the country's oldest Hispanic civil rights organization, said at the time that Trump's remarks about blood show his rhetoric is “getting more extreme,” contrasting it to Nazi propaganda against Jews.
Spokesman denies that Trump rhetoric echoes that of dictators like Hitler and Mussolini and declares that those who say it does will find "their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House." @marianne_levine https://t.co/yYLZbxNnv6— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) November 13, 2023
His campaign appears to believe he has done nothing wrong. Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, told The Washington Post that those comparing Trump to dictators “are clearly snowflakes grasping 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.”
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