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Code Red for our Democracy

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It’s no longer possible to ignore the parallels, nor pretend it was just a one-time thing. In a speech before his MAGA faithful in New Hampshire in December 2023, Trump doubled down on his fascist and inflammatory language of earlier speeches.
“They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump said about immigrants, “They’ve poisoned mental institutions and prisons all over the world. Not just in South America, not just the three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world they’re coming into our country from Africa, from Asia.”
Not surprising, in October 2023 in an interview with National Pulse, a right-leaning website, Trump claimed that undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” Sometimes history repeats itself. And sometimes it does so nearly verbatim. As historian Michael Beschloss notes, Hitler used this same racist rhetoric,
“All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning,” the Nazi leader said. 
Trump’s use of Hitler’s language is no accident. His former chief of staff John Kelly has written about Trump’s admiration for and even study of Hitler’s methods and words,
“Well, Hitler did do a lot of good things.” Trump also once railed to his military staff, “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals…in World War II?”—meaning willing to do Hitler’s bidding without question. (Kelly promptly reminded Trump, who had apparently only studied the parts of modern German history he liked, that those generals had tried to kill Hitler three times.)
Once again, closely tracking the words of Hitler. As Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Latino civil rights group in the country, observed, Hitler told Germans in Mein Kampf to “care for the purity of their own blood” by eliminating Jews.  Listen again to Trump’s words. In a (nearly two-hour) speech, delivered on Veterans Day 2023 in Claremont, New Hampshire, Trump claimed he would “root out” his enemies, referring specifically to “the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country” who “lie and cheat and steal on elections.” Trump repeated that threat in a Truth Social post, published also on Veterans Day, again promising “to root out the Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”
Like vermin? Hitler and the Nazis used the term in German frequently to describe Jews, as if they were parasites. According to accounts at the time, Hitler once told the Czech foreign minister that the “vermin must be destroyed. The Jews are our sworn enemies, and at the end of this year, there will not be a Jew left in Germany.” Historians quickly noted that the use of “vermin” is no coincidence. Wrote Michael Tomasky in The New Republic,
“That’s an unusual word choice. It’s not a smear that one just grabs out of the air. And it appears in history chiefly in one context, and one context only.” 
It remains to be seen if GOP leaders will stand by the idea of immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the country, and whether they will condemn Trump’s rhetoric. (Editor UPDATE: They will NOT: See Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and JD Vance (R-OH) comments.) All of the above is an unmistakable, open and unapologetic embrace of the fascist language and tactics used by Adolf Hitler in his rise to power. These comments are the latest in a dangerous pattern. Trump knows exactly what he is doing. The New York Times reported that Trump’s team is making plans to reinstitute and expand the anti-migrant policies from the time he was in office (see Project 2025.) These include the following draconian policies and actions:
  • Conducting sweeping raids;
  • Rounding up the undocumented;
  • Detaining them in camps;
  • Deporting people by the millions;
  • Eliminating due process hearings;
  • Ending humanitarian waivers;
  • Canceling the visas of foreign students who protested against Israel;
  • Restricting legal migration;
  • Reinstating the Muslim ban;
  • Refusing asylum claims on false grounds that migrants carry infectious diseases; and
  • Ending birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented parents.
In short, Trump and his allies want to shred the U.S. Constitution, but will begin with the most vulnerable communities, targeting them with the entire power of the state and letting civil liberties and freedoms erode from there. It’s precisely what Hitler did, numbing the German people to the loss of their democracy and to acts of political violence and preparing them to permit the ultimate atrocities during the Holocaust. (Editor Note: Trump loyalist, Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) just signed a bill that would allow state and local police to arrest and deport migrants suspected of being in the country illegally. The new law will make entering Texas illegally a state crime — granting local law enforcement the power to arrest migrants and judges the ability to issue orders to deport them.  It is recognized that the federal government, per the constitution and long-standing legal precedent, has sole jurisdictional authority over immigration. This has sent ripples of fear throughout the Latino community in Texas, which makes up 40% of the state’s population.)
For years, many people have dismissed Trump’s use of Hitler’s words and methodologies as coincidental, even fanciful, but they are  wrong to do so. Trump is someone who has studied Hitler and wants to regain power and rule like him. For Trump, Hitler is a leader to be admired and copied, his playbook studied and ruthlessly deployed.
Trump is planning in plain sight. And America needs to wake up to the danger.
About the Author: Jay Kuo is founder of well-known Substack newsletter Status Kuo. He was admitted before the CA Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit. He received an A.B. in Political Science from Stanford University and a J.D. from UC Berkeley. He is a Board member for the Human Rights Campaign; CEO of The Social Edge; and Composer of Allegiance on Broadway.
(Edited by Susan Lehman | BigTentUSA)