On Sunday’s episode of his eponymous MSNBC news series “Velshi,” journalist Ali Velshi slammed former president Donald Trump as a “fake martyr” while breaking down — with historical and etymological context — why he may be a threat to modern society.
The segment began with Velshi drawing a through line back to Vladimir Lenin of Russia, a leader who, “for better or worse,” is “often regarded as one of the century’s most significant political leaders” — and one who rose to power in part by harnessing the power of martyrdom.
“Charismatic leaders tend to inspire entirely unhealthy devotion — idolization that shields them from any accountability, and in some cases turns truly bad people into martyrs,” Velshi said. “Historically, this cult of personality thing has been the domain of fascists and authoritarians. It starts to get particularly concerning when the leaders who are being idealized are morally bankrupt and when their ideals become a danger to the greater good.”
The journalist then broke down the etymological progression of “martyr,” beginning with its roots in the early days of Christianity as “applied to those who chose death over renouncing their faith.” Today, he said, the title has been coopted by Muslim extremists to “honor the violence committed by suicide attackers,” and in America, it’s taken on a whole new meaning entirely.
“The term has evolved into a turn of phrase for someone who feels they have been politically persecuted, a victim of the justice system, someone who believes that they are dying on the cross, so to speak — not for anything they’ve done, but rather, for their followers,” Velshi explained.
And you can see where he was going from there.
“Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States is facing four indictments and 91 criminal charges, all of which he claims are the result of a political witch hunt at the hands of his enemies. He somewhat expertly cast himself as the martyr — trying and succeeding to convince his loyal supporters to see themselves and their persecution in him,” Velshi said.
The journalist relayed how the former president was one time just a “bombastic fabulist,” but evolved himself into a martyr upon being indicted for the first time in March when he “told a fevered crowd of supporters in Waco, Texas — a site at which another fake martyr, David Koresh, had died — that ‘I am your retribution.'”
“Retribution for what is unclear,” Velshi continued, pointing to two other instances following Trump’s second and third indictments where he proclaimed “I am indicted for you” and “I am being arrested for you.”
“He has invented a narrative of heroism and sacrifice, a martyr for the MAGA faithful,” Velshi concluded. “He turned his mug shot into a symbol of his apparent political persecution, adorned on T-shirts, coffee mugs and posters. There are dangers in allowing this to continue, allowing Trump to continue to thrive off of his martyrdom. Lionizing an anti-democratic, corrupt person risks keeping his philosophies, if you can call them philosophies, alive long after he himself loses relevance. Arguably, though, it may make no difference because to Trump’s followers, he is already a martyr.”
Watch the full “Velshi” segment in the video above.
The post Ali Velshi Slams Trump as a ‘Fake Martyr’ Who ‘Invented a Narrative of Heroism and Sacrifice’ (Video) appeared first on TheWrap.