Over the weekend, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump delivered two fascistic speeches. Trump spoke at an Iowa Republican Party dinner on Friday along with a dozen other Republican candidates. On Saturday night, he addressed a half-full arena in Erie, Pennsylvania.
In the face of 40 felony counts in the expanded classified documents case and pending indictments in Georgia and Washington D.C. related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, the ex-president doubled down on his antisemitic and QAnon-inspired attacks on his political enemies, including Republican rivals, Democratic opponents and Department of Justice prosecutors.
Speaking in Iowa, Trump delivered a truncated version of his standard 90-minute stump speech. With the Brooks & Dunn song “Only in America” blaring—“One could end up going to prison. One just might be president”—Trump took the stage to applause from the audience. As usual, he viciously attacked immigrants and transgender people and claimed the Democrats supported murdering babies “after birth.”
Appealing to ever more open authoritarian sentiments within the Republican Party and ruling class as a whole, which is terrified by the resurgence of the class struggle in the United States and internationally, Trump presented himself as the only candidate willing to take on the “deep-state globalists” and defend “Judaeo-Christian” values.
He attacked fading Florida governor and Guantanamo Bay torturer Ron DeSantis from the right, claiming that “DeSanctus” was in the pocket of the Chinese Communist Party and “globalists,” a euphemism for Jewish people.
DeSantis, who continues to plummet in Republican primary polling, did not name Trump in his Iowa speech. Seeking to outflank Trump from the right, he touted his “law and order” record, including the death penalty for “pedophiles” and a blank check for police violence.
As he had in Eagle Pass, Texas last month, DeSantis promised to institute a “shoot on sight” border policy, saying, “We will use deadly force against Mexican drug cartels.”
Nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates mimicked Trump’s far-right anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and anti-communist rhetoric. Only one of the candidates who spoke in Iowa, former CIA officer and ex-Texas Republican congressman Will Hurd, directly attacked Trump, saying, “Donald Trump is not running for president to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 and 2020. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison.” Hurd was greeted with a cascade of boos.
While mainstream media outlets have taken note of Trump’s continued dominance in Republican primary polling, none have remarked on the openly fascistic character of his campaign rallies.
In a Saturday night appearance at the Erie Insurance Arena in Pennsylvania, Trump called every investigation and indictment against him a “witch-hunt” and said special counsel Jack Smith was “deranged.” He absurdly branded the war-mongering, strike-breaking, budget-cutting Biden administration and Democratic Party the spearhead of a “communist” and “socialist” takeover.
“The Republican Party must be united against the Marxists, communists, fascists and globalists,” Trump grunted. “I promise you this: if you put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again.”
Ending his speech with piped-in music linked to QAnon, Trump declared, “Together we are taking on some of the most menacing forces and vicious opponents our people have ever seen. But no matter how hateful and corrupt the communists and criminals we are fighting against... you must not ever forget this nation does not belong to them. This nation belongs to you.”
Alluding to the New York Times’ 2016 opinion piece dubbing him the “Siberian Candidate,” i.e., Putin’s stooge, Trump denounced Joe Biden as the Chinese Communist Party’s “Manchurian Candidate.”
Seeking to exploit anti-war sentiment, he threatened to withhold weapons deliveries to Ukraine until “the FBI, DOJ (Department of Justice) and IRS (Internal Revenue Service) hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden crime family’s corrupt business dealings.”
As media commentators subsequently noted, this was a repetition of then-President Trump’s threat to delay US aide to Kiev until Ukrainian President Zelensky agreed to investigate the dealings of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which triggered the Democratic-led first impeachment of Trump in December of 2019.
Trump reiterated his claim that he won the 2020 election and threatened to mount another coup should he lose a reelection bid in 2024, saying the only way he could be defeated in next year’s election was if the Democrats “rigged” it “like they did in 2020.”
Trump pledged to stay in the race even if he became a convicted felon prior to Election Day.