July 30, 2017

The comparison of Donald J. Trump to WWII-era dictators is not only painfully inevitable, it is very appropriate. Rice University professor and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley spoke with CNN's Brian Stelter on why these comparisons are not hyperbolic in the slightest.

Autocratic tyrants demand fierce loyalty, which means those serving under Trump's relatively small orange thumb must sacrifice their own freedom or life for this man who would sell them down the river in the blink of an eye. As Priebus and Sessions prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Trump demands blind allegiance and fierce loyalty but gives nothing in return. The primary concern of anyone with a double-digit I.Q. is the possibility that this unfit Commander-in-Chief may take us perilously into an ill-conceived war with a leader as unstable as he is.

STELTER: You said he's unfit -- let me be clear, you said he's unfit for command?

BRINKLEY: I think so. I think when you have a White House communications director that uses the kind of foul language that he does against fellow employees of the federal government and makes threats the way that he did, and that's supposed to be your solution to the United States as a way they're going to communicate with the world, it means Donald Trump picked the wrong person to be his communication director. He has a White House that's leaking like crazy, as just mentioned. There are people ready to whistle-blow. He thinks you can govern by chaos and it's not working.

It is true. He has this 36 percent of the American public backing him. That means over 60 percent of Americans think that he's doing a miserable job and the rest of the world is laughing. We have a crisis in North Korea and we're playing these reality TV, big time wrestling games, because Donald Trump was weaned and raised on television, and it's becoming a TV episodic president, where every day, you've got to say something sensational to make sure your name is on the headlines.

Stelter asks Mr. Brinkley about his December 2016 trip to Mar-a-Lago. Brinkley explained the visit as an attempt to simply characterize, in a purely historical manner, then 'President-Elect' Donald Trump. The host suspected that Brinkley had not expected this level of dysfunction. Nobody has witnessed such blatant incompetence and criminality, so how could he have predicted this awful conundrum? The historian wanted to at least give it a shot.

BRINKLEY: You never know. You know, I don't do how things are going to work out. If you're a historian, you try to deal with kind of just deal with real events. There was this moment of hope that he might try to unite the country and do infrastructure, be really the third rail candidate, which he is in ways, not really a Republican. Republicans don't like Donald Trump...

He's going independent in a kind of revolutionary way. It's sort of the Trump movement. You're either with me or against me. The key to Donald Trump is just this kind of blind fierce loyalty, and that's what Franco expected in Spain. That's what Mussolini wanted to do in Italy.

I mean, these are kind of ways if you're asking people to march in lock-step with you and we saw John McCain give the big thumbs down to Donald Trump. No, we're not all in lock step with you.

I think we know who we're dealing with, and any comparisons that invoke Mussolini or Hitler are not overly dramatic. What we will see, sadly, is the habitual both-siderists will squirm at the mention of fascism, and temporarily claim independence from the complicit Republican Party. Until this incompetent man is gone and another, and a more polished turd can be installed in his place, they will distance themselves from the GOP. These newly proclaimed-Independents won't admit, in polite company, that they share many of the same hateful views as this dreadful man. Their integrity matters far less than the obscenely large checks they receive to lie willingly.

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