In a series of campaign appearances over the last week, ex-president Donald Trump has shifted even further in the direction of an openly fascistic appeal, directing his main fire against “communists,” “socialists” and “Marxists,” who he claims are a powerful force opposing him.
This is not simply hysterical rhetoric, but the driving force of his presidential campaign, which he launched last fall. Since then he has made only sporadic appearances, frequently disrupted by the legal battles he faces in a series of civil suits and criminal prosecutions.
In his 90-minute address to the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington DC Saturday night, Trump gave the most full-throated expression to the anticommunism he learned at his father’s knee (the millionaire Fred Trump was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and later an admirer of Hitler).
This political orientation was reinforced by Trump’s closest political adviser in the 1970s and 1980s, attorney Roy Cohn, the odious former top aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy, who spearheaded the red-baiting campaigns of the early 1950s.
Trump told his audience of Christian fundamentalists that his Democratic Party opponents were “trying to impose their woke communism on every man, woman and child.”
He justified his own legal problems, declaring, “Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it a great badge of courage. I’m being indicted for you, and I believe the you is more than 200 million people who love their country.”
He claimed that Christians were being persecuted under Biden, and that “they want to take away my freedom because I won’t let them take away your freedom.” He boasted of his success in appointing three new justices to the Supreme Court who last year repealed the Roe v. Wade decision establishing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
“No president has ever fought for Christians as hard as I have,” Trump said, adding, “I got it done, and nobody thought it was even a possibility.”
Then he appealed to the audience: “Together, we’re warriors in a righteous crusade to stop the arsonists, the atheists, globalists [a right-wing code word for Jews] and the Marxists.”
Trump combined this anticommunist tirade with the anti-immigrant bigotry which has been his stock in trade since he first entered the presidential race in the summer of 2015, branding Mexican migrants as “rapists” and “murderers.”
He vowed to restore all the border policies initiated during his first term, including separating children and parents and forcing asylum seekers to “remain in Mexico” while their claims are processed in the US, and extending and completing the border wall.
Trump portrayed migrants crossing the US-Mexico border as the dregs of society, deliberately selected by the governments of their countries of origin and sent to the US because they were criminals, mental defectives, or the bearers of terrible diseases. His language was so foul that it would have been embraced by Josef Goebbels.
But Trump added a new and sinister political twist: “Today I’m announcing a new plan to protect the integrity of our immigration system. Federal law prohibits the entry of communists and totalitarians into the United States. But my question is, what are we going to do with the ones that are already here, that grew up here?”
This was greeted by shouts from the audience of “deport them.”
Trump continued, “I think we have to pass a new law for them. Using federal law, section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, I will order my government to deny entry to all communists and all Marxists. Those who come to join our country must love our country. We don’t want them if they want to destroy our country… So we’re going to be keeping foreign Christian-hating communists, socialists and Marxists out of America. We’re keeping them out of America.”
Trump did not elaborate on what he proposed to do, during a second Trump administration, to leftist opponents who were already in America. But the violence of his language has clear implications: mass arrests, deportations, concentration camps.
Trump also declared that as soon as he reentered the White House he would issue an executive order repealing birthright citizenship. This is the constitutional provision, laid down in the Fourteenth Amendment and further elaborated by the Supreme Court, that any child born on American soil, with only a handful of exceptions such as the children of foreign diplomats, automatically acquires American citizenship and is entitled to all the rights of American citizens.
To carry out such a plainly illegal and unconstitutional measure would be tantamount to suspending the US Constitution and establishing a presidential dictatorship.
In light of these threats, it is important to note that on Thursday night Trump hosted a fundraiser for the fascist thugs arrested and prosecuted for their actions during the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. The event was held at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, and Trump pledged to give money to the cause himself.
He praised the participants in the attack, saying, according to NBC News, “You have police officers, you have firemen, you have teachers, you have electricians, you have great people, and they’ve been made to pay a price that is very unfair…” He also repeated the lies that Black Lives Matter and Antifa were responsible for the violence on January 6.
Trump has previously praised the attackers—his own supporters seeking to block the congressional certification of his election defeat—as “great patriots” and promised to pardon many of them if he returns to power.
In both of his weekend appearances, before the Christian fundamentalists Saturday night and at a Republican Party gathering in Oakland County, Michigan on Sunday night, Trump spent much of his time rehashing a defense of his actions in retaining national security documents after he left office, for which he was criminally indicted last month. He claimed that he had unlimited authority, under the Presidential Records Act, to keep anything he wanted from his time in office.
The Biden administration and the Democratic Party have focused all their attention on this issue, because it involves the secrets of the military-intelligence apparatus, rather than alerting the American population to the ongoing threat of dictatorship in the increasingly fascistic orientation of the Republican Party—spearheaded by Trump, but by no means limited to him.
This is a continuation of the Democrats’ policy since the 2016 election campaign, which has been to target Trump as unreliable, even suspect, on foreign policy, particularly in relation to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. This was the posture of the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, of Democratic Party support for the Mueller investigation in 2017-2018, and of the first impeachment of Trump in 2019-2020.
The anti-Russia campaign was a prelude to the deliberate provoking of the war with Russia in Ukraine, which is now virtually the sole focus of the Biden administration. In contrast, Trump claims that he would settle the war between Ukraine and Russia in 24 hours. This miracle would be accomplished, not for the purpose of promoting peace, but of refocusing the war drive of US imperialism on another target, China.
Trump told the Faith and Freedom Conference that he would give China 24 hours to remove all military installations from Cuba, denouncing the Biden administration for permitting the establishment of listening posts and other Chinese facilities only 90 miles from Florida.