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Donald Trump is running for president while pushing a fascist platform

Recent statements from Trump make him sound like a combination of Kim Jung Un, Vladimir Putin and John Gotti.
Donald Trump Holds A Campaign Rally In Erie, Pennsylvania
Former President Donald Trump campaigns for the GOP nomination in Erie, Pa., on July 29.Jeff Swensen / Getty Images file

It’s time for us to finally have a proper conversation about the F-word. 

No, not that one; the other one. Fascism.

Three years ago, then-President Donald Trump emerged from 2020’s summer of protest with threats to send as many as 75,000 agents of the federal government into U.S. cities to bash protesters. He threatened mayors and governors who didn’t embrace his violent approach to dissent.

The man who started his reign with a rant about “American carnage” finished it by trying to overturn an election he lost.

That threat on top of his Muslim ban, his remark about the “very fine people” in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his suggestion that soldiers shoot Black Lives Matter demonstrators in the legs — the man who started his reign with a rant about “American carnage” finished it by trying to overturn an election he lost. 

Now that man wants his old office back. And we have been treated to a nearly three-year roller coaster of further evidence that Donald Trump is, in fact, the fascist candidate for U.S. president.

The end of September gave us three more truly startling exhibits for this case.

Exhibit No. 1: Threatening to kill general

Trump took to social media to suggest that America’s top general, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, was a traitor who deserved to be executed for reassuring a Chinese counterpart in 2020 that Trump would not attack China.

Trump posted, “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been death!” 

Threatening to kill your generals. How very Kim Jong Un of him.

The former president was joined in bloodthirst by Rep. Paul Gosar, the white-nationalist-connected, pro-insurrection Arizona congressman who showed his support of his rhetoric by writing in his newsletter that “in a better society, quislings like the strange sodomy-promoting general Milley would be hung.”

Exhibit No. 2: Trump threatens the media 

Just hours after Gosar’s newsletter, the former president was back on social media, targeting me and my media colleagues for punishment: “NBC News, and in particular MSNBC … should be investigated for its ‘country threatening treason.’”

Trump went on, writing that “when I WIN the Presidency of the United States, they and others of the LameStream Media will be thoroughly scrutinized.” 

Cracking down on the free press. How very Vladimir Putin of him.

And he kept going. “They are a true threat to democracy and are, in fact, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE! The Fake News Media should pay a big price for what they have done to our once great Country!”

Cracking down on the free press. How very Vladimir Putin of him. 

Exhibit No. 3: Trumpian extremism and incitement

Trump’s violent rhetoric means lots of people just doing their jobs have to take extreme measures for their safety or the safety of others.

People like Fulton County, Georgia, Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing Trump’s criminal trial for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Judge McAfee decreed that special measures must be taken to conceal the identities of the jurors for the duration of that trial, for their safety. 

This order comes a month after Trump supporters posted the purported names and addresses of the Atlanta grand jury members who voted to indict Trump

Creating an atmosphere in which those with roles in a criminal case have to fear for their safety. How very John Gotti of him. 

Worse, late last month, the indicted former president appeared to go looking for a gun. In the early primary state of South Carolina, his campaign spokesman initially said Trump bought a Glock 9 mm with his face and “Trump 45” engraved on it. 

Put aside for a moment how a weapon bearing the name and face of a cult leader fetishizes political violence. Also, put aside the fact that such a sale might violate federal law, given Trump’s 91 criminal charges in three states and Washington, D.C. The same campaign spokesman later confirmed that Trump, apparently, didn’t actually buy a gun. No, the real story, the bigger fascistic story here, is where Trump went to inspect his Glock: the Palmetto State armory in South Carolina.

Late last month, the indicted former president appeared to go looking for a gun.

The same gun shop that sold a mentally ill white supremacist an AR-15-style gun used in the mass killing of Black people just last month.

I don’t even have a foreign tyrant or mob boss to compare that one to. Trump is truly in a league of his own here. 

What message did Trump think he was sending by visiting that particular gun shop? Remember, he posted on social media just last month: “If you go after me, I’m coming for you!” The very next day, a woman called the office of the Washington judge assigned to Trump’s election interference case and reportedly left a message for the judge that if Trump didn’t win re-election, “we are coming to kill you.”

Trump knows full well how his rhetoric and actions rile up his more extreme supporters. He knows the impact his words have. In fact, he revels in it.

Threatening generals with death, threatening to break up the free press, threatening the judicial system, visiting a gun shop that sold a racist mass killer one of his weapons, stirring up supporters to commit political violence. 

If all of that doesn’t qualify him as the fascist’s choice for president, then what does?

Yet on Wednesday night, at the second GOP presidential debate, co-sponsored by Fox Business, the moderators asked not one question about Trump’s threats against the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or against the free press. The candidates blasted one another over their voting records and business records and, in Tim Scott’s case, the cost of Nikki Haley’s curtains. But they did not address, even in passing, their main rival’s fascistic behavior and incitement of violence.

If all of that doesn’t qualify him as the fascist’s choice for president, then what does?

Fine. Perhaps we should not expect much from Fox or the GOP candidates for president, but surely this is a story that the mainstream media should be telling. A fascist candidate threatening violence and undermining democracy. Instead, they’re still talking about how old Joe Biden is, even though he’s only three years older than Trump.

That is the reality in America today. We have a fearful media culture that is all over Biden’s advancing age but afraid to call Trump what he is: a dangerous unhinged fascist.

You deserve to know that the 2024 race will indeed come down to who may trip and fall and who’s going to kill American democracy.

This is an adapted excerpt from the Sept. 28 episode of “The Mehdi Hasan Show.”