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Former Washington Journalist
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In a colloquy with author and historian Jon Meacham to put Donald Trump’s incitement of the deadly January 6 insurrection into some context, former Republican congressman and Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough compared the former president to Adolf Hitler.
Trump currently is on trial in the Senate for inciting the riot last month at the US Capitol which left several people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
The siege that day was an effort by Trump and his supporters to overturn the lawful election of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States in an ultimately failed bid to keep Trump in the White House.
“Anybody who reads history, you can’t help but look back and ask, well, what leaders have actually turned on their own countries, savaged their own countries at the end? And you have to immediately go to the Nero Decree,” said Scarborough, a frequent Trump critic. “Because so few have done it. But Hitler’s Nero Decree, in March of 1945, where Hitler ordered his generals to turn their guns on Germany out of spite because Germans had not done as well as he thought they should have done in the war, so to destroy their own infrastructure, to tear up railroads, to tear up factories.
“But Donald Trump turned his mob on something far more precious, to us at least, than railroad tracks or factories. He turned his mob against the seat of government, the first branch, the United States Congress. I don’t know, certainly there are no parallels in American history,” Scarborough added. “There is no president that has turned his mob against the United States government. And outside of Hitler, I can’t think of too many other leaders throughout history who have actually turned their mobs or turned their troops against their own government when it was obvious they were being removed from power.”
The parallels Meacham drew were from white supremacy and the Civil Rights era.
“You know, to me the closest examples goes to Fannie Lou Hamer, goes to the Civil Rights era in particular, at least in the most recent times, where the totalitarian white supremacist violence that shaped our native region was, in fact, state-sanctioned. Who are Jose Williams, Ms. Boykin and John Lewis looking at at the top of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, when they reached the crest and they looked down? They didn’t see civilians. They saw deputies, posse men and troopers,” said Meacham, a native of Tennessee. “They saw the power of the state being martialed against their fundamental human rights.
“And this is that on a grand scale, what happened on January 6, is you had in the president — and heading up to January 6th. You had the fear, as you just said, of losing power. White people in the Civil Rights movement feared losing power,” Meacham added. “So we, white people, in many ways martialed the power of the state, martialed vigilante violence to try to stop it. And what Donald Trump was doing here was lying in the way the segregation was a lie, based on a lie, lying about the election because he feared losing power himself.
“And the point of America — people say, ‘Is this America?’ Yeah, actually, it is. And we kid ourselves, at our peril, to think this isn’t an important part of who we are,” he said. “The point, the mission is to make it a deminimus part of the country. What we saw in the last five years with this president is the worst part of us went to center stage, and that’s what we have to fight.”
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