Trump’s channeling Hitler for protection

As he begins to feel the weight of the law come down on him, Trump relies on antisemitism to lift himself up

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published October 31, 2023 5:45AM (EDT)

Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump, speechifying (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump, speechifying (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s former wife, Ivana, reportedly said that he kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book “My New Order” in a cabinet next to the bed and would read from it before going to sleep. Trump has long denied that he read Hitler’s book for its hateful message. Instead, he pivots and prevaricates, claiming that if ever did read “My New Order” it was because he admired the language and speeches. But Trump’s denials always stretched the limits of credulity. He told Vanity Fair in 1990, “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

For decades, Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be a casual antisemite. Throughout his presidency and beyond, he has continued to advocate for and amplify antisemitism and white supremacy. As the manifestly corrupt ex-president faces the growing reality of (finally) going to prison for his many obvious crimes, he is now publicly wallowing even more in antisemitism and white supremacy. As demonstrated by a recent series of speeches, fundraising emails and other communications, Trump has erased any lingering doubt about the sincerity and earnestness of his antisemitic and white supremacist values and beliefs. That copy of Hitler’s book of speeches was in all likelihood well read and closely studied.

For example, in a recent series of fundraising emails, Trump repeatedly claimed that he and his followers in the MAGA movement (whom he describes as “patriots”) are “victims” who have been “betrayed” and “stabbed in the back” by Republican “traitors” who are insufficiently loyal to “the cause” and doing the bidding of the Democrats, George Soros and other “globalists." (Soros is Jewish and a Holocaust survivor; in this context, as in right-wing discourse generally, “globalist” is an antisemitic slur.)

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In this fundraising email, Trump attacks Soros and puts him at the center of the “plot” against him:


While no one was looking, George Soros made a “MASSIVE DONATION” just in time for the 3rd Quarter FEC Deadline…

Soros knows that Biden is a disastrous candidate. He’s seen all of the many polls that show Biden LOSING BADLY to me in the swing states that will decide the 2024 election.

And thanks to your support, we ensured that Soros never got the nasty, divisive GOP primary that he had been hoping for. While RINOs have certainly tried to attack us with nefarious, backstabbing plots, we’ve prevailed every single time and to this day remain the INDISPUTABLE frontrunner – and it’s not even close.

So, Soros only has two remaining options to keep the White House under his control…

…hope that Biden jails me for the rest of my life as an innocent man OR spend enough billions to BUY the 2024 election.

This latest 3rd Quarter FEC report confirms that Soros will spend whatever it takes to continue bleeding America dry for his own personal benefit.

Soros and many other globalist special interests have trillions of dollars at play in this election.

But we have something far more noble at play in this election: our country.

On Sunday, Trump sent out the following fundraising email in which he brags about how the “plot” against him continues to fail citing Mike Pence's decision to drop out of the 2024 Republican presidential primary.


The Republican primary is coming to a GLORIOUS END.

At the end of August, RINOs set a 60-day timeline to try and DESTROY our movement and recapture the GOP for the failed, broken establishment.

But that 60-day timeline has officially expired – and we’re still standing stronger than ever before.

I can’t say the same for the others…

Yesterday, the THIRD Republican candidate for president DROPPED OUT now that it’s clear that the 60-day plot FAILED MISERABLY.

This is just the beginning. Candidates are running out of special interest money. They’re ALL stuck in the single digits. More and more will fall like dominoes.

There is no “plot” against Donald Trump. Today’s Republican Party and its leaders and other influentials on the right-wing and “conservative” movement are Trump’s supplicants, part of his neofascist movement, and political gimps who are desperate for his approval. This includes Mike Pence, a man whom Trump’s followers apparently intended to murder on Jan. 6 as part of the coup plot and terrorist attack on the Capitol.

Hitler and his Nazi propagandists repeatedly used similar lies about being “backstabbed” and “betrayed” by a shadowy Jewish-led conspiracy of supposed communists, socialists and other nefarious forces as a way of building and keeping support for their fascist movement and creating the climate for the Holocaust. Trump and the other Republican fascists and members of the white right and “conservative” movement are increasingly apocalyptic in their language and imagery, and describe the goal of returning Trump to the White House — by constitutional or quasi-legal means or through outright violence and the "Red Caesar" scenario — is a literal matter of life and death for white America. To great effect, the Nazis also deployed similar rhetoric and imagery.

As a range of national security and law enforcement experts have warned, such a narrative frame encourages right-wing political violence and terrorism against “the enemy” because such behavior is understood to be defensive and therefore justified. 

In all, Trump’s channeling of Hitler’s and other fascists’ logic and view of society and democracy is expansive and growing.

In a speech last Monday to his MAGA cultists in New Hampshire, Trump told them to not even worry about voting in the 2024 Election: “You don’t have to vote, don’t worry about voting. The voting, we got plenty of votes.”

Instead of voting, Trump told his supporters to “watch” (which in the larger context of the ex-president’s behavior and fascist threats means to intimidate) those Americans (i.e. black and brown people) who support President Biden and the Democrats. Here, Trump is preemptively delegitimizing and nullifying the results of the 2024 Election (if he loses) as a pretext for engaging in violence against President Biden and the Democrats and the MAGA movement’s other perceived enemies. 

In keeping with his Hitler-like threats about how non-white immigrants and migrants (and the Other, more generally) are poisoning (White) American society, Trump is now telling his followers that he will reinstate the Muslim ban, deport Palestinians who do not support Israel’s war against Hamas, and make America into a Christofascist theocracy if he returns to the White House in 2025, as the Associated Press reports:

“Bad things are happening, but we keep going up,” he said.

Later, at his rally, continued to criticize Biden’s response to the Hamas attack on Israel, calling the speech the president gave in response to the war last Thursday night “a grotesque betrayal of Israel” and “one of the most dangerous and deluded speeches ever delivered from the Oval Office.”…

In the weeks since, Trump has been leaning into the anti-immigration rhetoric that fueled his 2016 campaign, calling for an expanded Muslim travel ban and new ideological tests for immigrants. He has also warned that those who want to do harm to the U.S. may be infiltrating the country’s southern border along with South American migrants.

He read the lyrics of “The Snake,” a dark song that he’s used since his first campaign as an allegory of what he says are the dangers of illegal immigration, and claimed Biden would turn the country “into a hotbed for jihadists and make our cities into dumping grounds resembling the Gaza Strip.”

Trump and the Republican fascists’ and “conservative” movement’s plans to end multiracial pluralistic democracy are generally understood to be unconstitutional. But such antidemocracy forces do not care about the rule of law and standing norms and values and institutions: the struggle is revolutionary; power and winning are all that matters.

Trump’s continued refusals to obey the court’s order(s) to cease making threats against and otherwise intimidating witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, and court staff is a function of the ex-president’s antisocial personality and diseased mind but also a fascist signal to his followers that he and they are above the law.

In his fundraising emails, speeches, interviews and other communications, Trump is continuing to embrace his identity as a fascist-MAGA-Jesus-martyr who is supposedly willing to go to prison and even die for his followers and the movement. This too is a common rhetorical device that was used by Hitler and other fascist and fake populist leaders – and cult leaders. On this, historian Federico Finkelstein, author of “A Brief History of Fascist Lies”, explained to Salon via email how:

This belongs to the same logic and histories of fascism and far-right populism. Prison is represented as the place to spread propaganda. Hitler was in prison for his crimes against democracy when he wrote Mein Kampf. Other fascists tried to imitate the Nazi leader. For example, Argentine fascist Enrique Oses and many others in the interwar years. Here Trump returns to the propaganda of inverting reality and presents justice being served as a moment of ideological persecution by enemies and former friends alike.

A prisoner, in fact, of his own cult, Trump sincerely believes that people that disagree with him, or worse, accept he participated in crimes, are traitors with infernal motifs. Once again, this represents, Trump’s increasing flight from reality.

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This language about “backstabbing” and “betrayal” resonates with Trump’s followers because it confirms the paranoia of authoritarian personalities. Followers of these cult type ideologies are prone to believe in paranoias of persecution.

The mainstream media continues to mostly downplay, ignore, and outright deny the existential dangers of Trump’s white supremacy and antisemitism – which is to de facto normalize such evil behavior – for a variety of reasons including the incorrect assumption that such information is no longer “newsworthy” and “everyone already knows about it”. Such a decision is a betrayal of the most basic responsibilities of the news media and Fourth Estate in a democracy.

Trump’s egomania, malignant narcissism and cult leader-victim identity reached another crescendo last Monday when he claimed during a speech to the MAGA cultists in New Hampshire that he is being persecuted like the late Nelson Mandela.

The AP continues, "“I don’t mind being Nelson Mandela because I’m doing it for a reason,” Trump told an amped-up crowd of supporters at a sports complex in Derry, New Hampshire. ”We’ve got to save our country from these fascists, these lunatics that we’re dealing with. They’re horrible people and they’re destroying our country.””

The late Nelson Mandela was a hope warrior and freedom fighter. Mandela never surrendered to the temptations of hatred, even when such feelings would have been fully justified, reasonable and wholly human. By comparison, Donald Trump has shown himself to be a racial authoritarian, neofascist, white supremacist, antisemite and an apparent sociopath if not a psychopath. For Trump to suggest, never mind believe, that there are any positive similarities between him and Nelson Mandela is an act of moral abomination, one that reflects the larger evil of the American neofascist movement and Trumpism.

In an essay several weeks ago here at Salon I wrote the following: As "the walls close in" on Donald Trump, he and his agents and followers will only become more violent, racist, and antisemitic. Such an outcome is very predictable and in no way surprising or climactic; that makes it no less dangerous to the future of the country and its democracy and the lives and safety of the American people. To save American democracy, Donald Trump and the larger neofascist movement must be defeated at the polls, in the courts, and through direct corporeal politics across the country.”

Unfortunately, I must reiterate that warning.

Matters are only becoming more dire as the 2024 election approaches. Trump is leading or tied with Biden in the early presidential polls, despite facing multiple criminal trials and the real possibility of going to prison for the rest of his natural life. With his channeling of Hitler and naked desires and plans to become America’s first dictator, Trump’s ugliness should be repulsive to the American people. Instead, many tens of millions of them are drawn to it. This is more of an indictment of the character of the American people and a sick culture that produced Trumpism and its related evils and other great troubles than Donald Trump. Tomorrow is far from guaranteed and the American people are quickly running out of time to save their democracy – assuming that they even want to do the hard work necessary to accomplish that goal.


By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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Antisemitism Commentary Democracy Crisis Donald Trump Fascism Racism Republican Party