NPR Compares Donald Trump to Mussolini, Ties President to KKK

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (1883 - 1945) giving a speech. (Photo by Fox Pho
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National Public Radio (NPR) conducted an interview on Sunday comparing President Donald Trump to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and tied the president to the kind of conspiracy theories that led to the creation of the Ku Klux Klan.

Tax-payer-funded NPR also implied that former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush also embraced similar fascist ideology:

Historians have noted similarities between Donald Trump and Mussolini since before the 2016 election. Some of the racial justice protesters this summer have said they are fighting fascism in the form of President Trump. And the presence of antifa — anti-fascist — protesters at some demonstrations has upped attention to the word.

But what is and isn’t fascist isn’t even agreed upon by scholars.

Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, offers one perspective on the word. He defines fascism as “a cult of the leader who promises national restoration in the face of humiliation brought on by supposed communists, Marxists and minorities and immigrants who are supposedly posing a threat to the character and the history of a nation.”

Stanley, who is the author of the 2018 book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, was asked on NPR’s All Things Considered about how Trump stacks up today compared to his 2018 assessment. Stanley replied:

Well if someone described to you, ‘Here’s country X. The leader of country X claims that he is going to remain in power for many years beyond what is legal. He sends federal forces in to quell largely peaceful protests for racial justice in his country. His attorney general seems dedicated to him over the rule of law. The major political party that controls the courts and most of the government has, as their entire platform, devotion to him.’

“What would you think about that country?” Stanley said. “Where would you think the direction of that country was headed? I would think that country was losing its democratic status, especially when it had a history of voter suppression and the highest incarceration rate in the world as background conditions.”

Stanley was also asked about Trump and conspiracy theories, a narrative repeatedly reported on by NPR, and the academic said that these conspiracy theories are the “basis of Ku Klux Klan ideology.”

“Conspiracy theories destroy an information space,” Stanely said, and continued:

The goal — fascism is based on a friend-enemy distinction, so you’re either with them or against them. The enemy is the enemy of civilization. What it does is it destroys the information space. It makes you think that even if your guys are corrupt and lying, it is because [the leader is] facing a mysterious cabal that is controlling things that are trying to foment a race war. This is the basis of the Ku Klux Klan ideology.

The NPR interview did not mention the Democrat Party’s connection to the KKK.

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