Forget being the first celebrity president. Donald Trump is America’s first fascist president, Drexel University Professor Robert Zaller writes in an op-ed published in The Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper.
In the article, titled “It has happened here: Fascism in the United States,” Zaller, a history professor, argues that the United States is in “the deepest and most awful trouble any of us have known.”
To support this claim, he presents a definition of what he considers a fascist:
What defines a fascist? Firstly, a fascist denies the rule of law. This means that he knows no will but his own, and recognizes no limit on his power. To achieve such power, he must defy, circumvent, or simply ignore all other established authority, and destroy the institutions through which it is exercised. In America, these are the three branches of government, and the fourth estate of the press. Congress was created to make laws for the nation at large. The judiciary, within its proper bounds, interprets them. The executive, which Trump heads, enforces them. The press — more broadly now, the media — keeps tabs on how well the process works.
Trump took a “sledgehammer” to those institutions, according to Zaller, as the president “has no interest in legislating” before saying that the president will “demand that [Congress] act to solve the messes he makes, refuse to indicate what he wants or is willing to approve, and gives both houses the bird when they offer him solutions tailored to please him.”
All of this constitutes Trump’s attempts at “breaking the legislative branch” through his presidency.
Zaller moves on to address Trump’s alleged attacks on the executive branch. Trump “ignores or attacks laws he doesn’t like, and has maintained a running attack on the Justice Department, the State Department, the Education and Labor departments, and the regulatory and scientific agencies.”
Beyond these claims, Zaller does not include specific examples of Trump’s attacks.
And finally, he presents Trump’s dislike of the media as attempts to “replace news with propaganda, a reflecting mirror that eliminates all competing views of reality,” which he describes as a goal of fascism.
To conclude, Zaller compares Trump to Hitler, writing “no political leader since Hitler has taken more deliberate aim at other democracies as well as his own,” before adding that “Trump is as much a product of our country as Hitler and Mussolini were of theirs.”
For Zaller, America is a country that has been “losing its way” for most of his adult lifetime, resulting in Donald Trump, who is “inevitable” for America.