The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Let’s Not Let Nazis Be “Normal”

The House seems even more dysfunctional under the new speaker as it was under the last one. And we’re staring at another possible government shutdown, just before Thanksgiving. Forbes is running handy travel tips in case all the TSA employees required to work without pay suddenly get the flu.

Let’s talk about “normalization.” Somewhat belatedly, Trump’s Veteran’s Day “truth” post is getting some scrutiny.

The first I heard of this was yesterday. Michael Tomasky in The New Republic, It’s Official: With “Vermin,” Trump Is Now Using Straight-up Nazi Talk. And there’s more.

Then, at a rally in New Hampshire later that day, he repeated those words essentially verbatim—promising to “root out … the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country”—and doubled down on it: “The real threat is not from the radical right; the real threat is from the radical left, and it’s growing every day, every single day. The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within.”

Of course, those last two sentences are true, since Trump himself is the greatest threat to this country right now. Tomasky continues,

But dear God. Can’t we get people to think about fascism, and what Trump would do to this country? Trump invoked “vermin” on the very day that The New York Timesbroke yet another harrowing story about his second-term plans, this time having to do with immigration. “He plans,” the Times reported, “to scour the country for unauthorized immigrants and deport people by the millions per year.” And he wants to build huge—yes—detention camps. There’s much more. And all of this, by the way, appears to have been fed to the paper by his own people, who are obviously proud of it. They want America to know. And just before this, remember, Trump told Univision that he would use the Justice Department and the FBI to go after his political enemies.

Digby reports that the mainstream media buried these remarks.

As far as I can tell, only Kristen Welker on on Meet the Press mentioned it in passing to Ronna McDaniel and the only two mainstream newspapers to headline it are the NY Times (who only discussed it in the story, not in the headline above), in a small article and Forbes.

Also, she said, CNN covered the New Hampshire speech and buried the “Nazi” talk way down in the story.

Finally, late in the day yesterday, the Washington Post ran this headline: Trump calls political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler, Mussolini. But even then in the online edition you had to scroll way down to find it. And I understand it was not on the front page of the paper edition.

The WaPo story, by Marianne LeVine, quoted some reactions to Trump’s words.

“The language is the language that dictators use to instill fear,” said Timothy Naftali, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “When you dehumanize an opponent, you strip them of their constitutional rights to participate securely in a democracy because you’re saying they’re not human. That’s what dictators do.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said in an email to The Washington Post that “calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.”

“Trump is also using projection: note that he mentions all kinds of authoritarians ‘communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left’ to set himself up as the deliverer of freedom,” Ben-Ghiat said. “Mussolini promised freedom to his people too and then declared dictatorship.”

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, told The Post “those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.”

Wow, Steven Cheung, thanks for clearing that up.

At Press Watch, Dan Froomkin wonders if this could be a turning point in Trump coverage.

Saturday night was a low point in the elite media’s coverage of Donald Trump.

The New York Times put a light-hearted headline on a news article about Trump’s Veterans Day address in New Hampshire, in which he vowed to “root out” what he called “the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”

Trump Takes Veterans Day Speech in a Very Different Direction” was the initial headline over the story by Michael Gold.

Gold acknowledged in his second paragraph that Trump’s language was “incendiary and dehumanizing.” But that, of course, should have been the lede – and should have been in the headline.

The Times soon changed its headline to “In Veterans Day Speech, Trump Promises to ‘Root Out’ the Left,” but that wasn’t much better.

A social-media furor quickly erupted. (Twitter, the platform now called X by some, is still good for something.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post made no mention of the speech at all.

Until Sunday night, that is.

Sunday night WaPo ran the Marianne LeVine story. I wasn’t watching, but I understand that Joe Scarborough did a segment on the Nazi talk.

And today, Aaron Blake published How Trump’s rhetoric compares with Hitler’s. No paywall.

In other news: ABC News got its hands on proffer sessions of the people working out plea deals in the Georgia election interference RICO case. Jenna Ellis said that Dan Scavino told her “the Boss” would not leave the White House even though he had lost.

A lot of juicy stuff is coming out of Jonathan Karls new book. This tidbit is several paragraphs down in the story:

As Trump’s presidency was winding down, he sent top aide Johnny McEntee to warn Pentagon leaders that Trump was irate because Army Chief of Staff James McConville and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had publicly insisted the military would play no role in the transition of power or determining the outcome of the 2020 election. But Trump, who had been huddling with advisers urging him to consider deploying the military to seize voting machines, was displeased, Karl reports.

McEntee relayed Trump’s concerns to acting defense secretary Chris Miller and took some notes on the conversation to pass back to the West Wing.

“Chris Miller spoke to both of them and anticipates no more statements coming out,” read McEntee’s note, which was included in a massive batch of documents posted publicly by the select committee. “If another happens, he will fire them.”

Trump, according to Karl, tore up the note after reading it. And the version obtained by the select committee was clearly reconstructed from several torn pieces by aides who delivered the repaired missive to the National Archives.

No more “normalizing” this monster.