“Morning Joe” began its Tuesday episode on what cohost Mika Brzezinski determined was “kind of a grim note,” drawing attention to the front-page New York Times report titled, “Trump’s Dire Words Raise New Fears About His Authoritarian Bent.”
In this case, the crux of the story was really all in the headline, but the “Morning Joe” team dug into how “Donald Trump’s latest extreme remarks describing his political enemies as ‘vermin’ that he needs to root out is sparking new concern about his authoritarian rhetoric.”
“He’s talking like an autocrat, and he is promised them he is going to rule like an autocrat,” cohost Scarborough said, agreeing that it’s grim, but emphasized the importance of such reports.
“I’ve got to say it’s really important that we’re talking about the possible ending of democracy, and it’s really important that these stories are in just about every day to again keep explaining to people so that if they decide they want to throw away American democracy and go toward autocracy, they can never say they weren’t warned,” Scarborough said.
Brzezinski then began breaking down the specifics of the New York Times piece, quoting directly from its text.
“It notes this: ‘He has insinuated that the nation’s top military general should be executed and called for the termination of parts of the Constitution. If he wins back the White House, he has said he would have no choice but to imprison political opponents,'” she said.
“The paper continues: ‘Mr. Trump’s rise to power was almost immediately accompanied by debates over whether his ascendency and that of other leaders around the world with similar political views, signaled a revival of fascism. Fascism is generally understood as an authoritarian far-right system of government in which hyper-nationalism,'” she read. “‘It also often features a cult of personality around a strongman leader, the justification of violence or retribution against opponents, and a repeated denigration of the rule of law, said Peter Hayes, a historian who has studied the rise of fascism.'”
Scarborough jumped in to say that all of the above indicates that Trump’s means of governing and his fight to stay in the White House thereafter are signs that he has “fascist tendencies,” at the very least.
“I mean, just tick down the list. People say, ‘Oh, it’s not fascism,’ and then you go down a list of fascist tendencies of past fascist leaders, and he ticks it all off.”
Brzezinski then read that “past fascist leaders appealed to a sense of victimhood to justify their actions” — “Exactly, they’re all snowflakes,” Scarborough interjected — and in the Times report, historian Jennifer Mercieca said that “Trump had wielded language as a chisel to chip away at democratic norms,” as seen in his use of “war rhetoric domestically.”
“And that’s what’s so frightening,” Scarborough said. “His focus is not in taking over other countries, it’s in taking over this country, undermining American democracy, undermining the rule of law, calling for the termination of the Constitution, calling, still, for the arresting and the imprisonment of his political opponents.”
Scarborough later added that there are “far too many Americans” who do not care enough about the threat he believes Trump poses.
“They seem completely disinterested in the fact that the leader they’re following, well, he’s an autocrat,” he said. “He’s talking like an autocrat, and he is promised them he is going to rule like an autocrat, arresting political opponents and deciding for himself what news shows stay on television and what news shows don’t.”
Watch the full “Morning Joe” segment in the video above.