Updated: Oct 23
Even as a child, he was a horror.
Throwing stones at a toddler in a playpen until the child’s mother intervened to stop what could easily have resulted in murder. Tormenting little girls. Giving his teacher a black eye. President Donald Trump insists that he’s the same person now as he was then; only this time with his finger on the nuclear trigger.
The urge to compare POTUS45 to Adolph Hitler is much too powerful to resist. But, wait a minute. Is it even a valid comparison?
After all, Hitler was never deemed a psychopath or diagnosed with any mental illnesses during his lifetime, neither by German dissidents nor by his international enemies. In fact, the prominent German-Jewish philosopher and writer, Hanna Arndt, found that the willingness to commit genocide can be entirely compatible with good mental health. Despite various academics’ attempts to posthumously diagnose Hitler with one or another disorder, with zero supporting documentation, Hitler earns a more or less clean bill of mental health.
In 1939, Winston Churchill warned the British people against the restlessness and imminent threat emanating from an educated, industrious and hard-working people, meaning, of course, Germany. Hitler may have been a bit of an oddball, even a megalomaniac, but nobody ever accused him of throwing stones at babies in playpens, assaulting teachers, or torturing puppies. The same cannot be said for Donald J. Trump. The psychopathology of President Trump is probably the most trending topic in America today and the most disturbing.
A widely circulated American-made documentary lamely proposes that Hitler had made himself extremely rich off his position as Chancellor and, later, as Führer, as the Nazi war machine flattened Europe. Yet, by the end of the documentary I was convinced of the opposite. Hitler owned the very modest house in Austria where he was born and not much else. The so-called Hitler ‘riches’ were almost exclusively titled to the German state.
So, the comparison of Donald J. Trump with Adolph Hitler doesn’t hold water, neither from a psychological nor even economic perspective. The only thing these two dictators - I’ll venture to call Trump a dictator at this stage since he enjoys virtually unlimited power under a weak Constitution, a gutless Congress, and tens of millions of maliciously ignorant followers - have in common is their track record for mass murder. Hitler achieved complicity in at least 6 million deaths resulting from the Holocaust. To date, Trump’s tally has topped 210,000 and climbing. And this is just the start.
Still, there are profound differences between the largely sane Hitler and the psychopathic Trump.
Adolph Hitler actually wrote his own books while Donald J. Trump uses ghost writers, some of whom later decided to expose the poorly educated, talentless bully who paid them to pen his idiotic pronouncements. Tony Swartz, ghost writer for ‘The Art of the Deal,’ describes Trump as "the most purely evil human being I've ever met." While Hitler’s ideas may not have been wholly original – scapegoating of European Jewry for the ills of Christian society had been a sport of kings and tool of politicians throughout history – at least the wording was his own. Hitler was an accomplished writer and speaker, not to mention a talented artist (see www.francescorizzuto.com/post/no-one-took-him-serious-as-an-artist), while Trump’s meandering delivery more closely resembles a schoolyard bully attempting to incite a gang of pre-teen ruffians to torch the school. While Hitler’s functionaries rounded up the handicapped and euthanized them, he didn’t mock the handicapped on national television as Trump did with a New York Times reporter. Trump has, however, hinted, implied, and outright stated that he’d like to kill reporters.
But here is where the Hitler and Trump trajectories actually intersect.
Hitler only needed to imply in his writings and speeches as to where his ideas should lead and his ‘base’ did the rest. Hitler didn’t invent the term “Final Solution.” He simply endorsed the Nazi programme of genocide by doing nothing to oppose it. The violence and destruction of Kristallnacht, the Night of the Long Knives, and other assaults on Nazi Party targets were not personally conceived or planned by Hitler. Hitler planned the attack on Poland, the conquest of France, the London Blitz and Operation Barbarossa, the assault on Russia; but he had no direct hand in conceiving, designing or operating Auschwitz and other killing centres of the Third Reich. Hitler conceived of himself as a great general whose role was to foment grandiose plans for the conquest of the world by a superior race. He was strong on planning but weak on execution, and that weakness became his, and by extension the Nazis', undoing.
Even to the role of military genius, Hitler brought a rather convincing resume. He’d earlier been awarded an Iron Cross (Germany’s highest military honor) for courage under fire in the trenches of World War I. Hardly the same can be said for Donald J. Trump who has hinted that he deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor or at the very least a Nobel Prize. Medals or no medals, Trump desperately wishes to go down in history as a ‘war president,’ even if that means another American Civil War. If Germany had ‘trumped’ the Allies in the race to develop nuclear weaponry in the 1940’s, it’s reasonable to assume they would have used it to further their expansionist goals or at least to stave off eventually defeat. Trump has his little hand on an actual nuclear trigger and it’s abundantly clear that he won’t hesitate to use it for personal political ends. He’s determined to be a war president at any cost.
In terms of murder and mayhem, like Trump’s ‘base,’ it was Hitler’s followers who simply deduced Der Fürhrer’s wishes from the tone of his speeches and, like the patriots they were, acted unilaterally. Hitler had his Brown Shirts and the SA, and later the SS. Trump has the right-wing Boogaloo Bois, Proud Boys, Bikers for Trump, the 3%ers, numerous ad hoc militias, not to mention an increasingly militarized police and politicized military. Numerous mass shootings, consistent police brutality, and other atrocities have been attributed directly to 'patriots' executing what they perceive to be indirect orders from the White House, everything from Cesar Sayoc’s mail bombs to the El Paso Wallmart shooter's 22 victims with much bloodshed in between.
Certainly, there remained thousands of right-thinking Germans who, although they may have shared the Nazi prejudices (as almost all White Americans participate in or tolerate the oppression of Blacks and other persons of color at some level), would never have lifted a finger to harm another human. Most did not. Most Americans will not. But they will sit idly on the sidelines while their neighbours and police act out their murderous impulses.
In this regard, Donald J. Trump, as ignorant and uncouth as he is, has torn a page from the Hitler playbook. From Charlottesville to Minneapolis to Kenosha, Americans are seeing a psychopathic president’s instructions to his base translating literally to the death of those he deems lesser beings, not to mention the massive destruction of property and intimidation of the country’s citizenry as a whole. Politicized military and militarized police are exactly what earned the Nazis a well-deserved reputation for terror. Look around, folks. Dare to tell me that’s not what you see.
Adolph Hitler was never accused of personally attacking any individual. He was never accused of sexual abuse or rape. Neither does history offer even a shred of evidence that Hitler himself broke any law. He paid his share of taxes. He may have coopted the Weimar Republic to consolidate all political power in himself, but that’s not the same as tax evasion or physical or sexual assault on another human being. I'm not praising or even defending the Nazi leader here; just saying.
Trump, on the other hand, has been accused not only of assault (by his own wife, no less) but of sexual assault of at least 23 women, some as young as 13. Steven Nachtigall, a former neighbor now a 66-year-old doctor, said he never forgot watching Trump, a ‘loudmouth bully’, jump off his bike and pummel another boy. He boasts having assaulted a teacher, hardly a role model for American boys, much the same as his porn star 3rd wife is hardly a role model for American girls (see www.francescorizzuto.com/post/first-lady-of-porn).
Donald J. Trump is not another Adolph Hitler.
Donald J. Trump is another Charles Manson (1934-2017).
And exactly who was Charles Manson? Most social media afficionados are not long enough in the tooth to recall Manson and the terrifying grip he once held, and to a certain extent still holds, on the collective imagination.
Manson was an American singer-song writer and cult leader. According to Wikipedia:
“In mid-1967, [Manson] formed what became known as the "Manson Family", a quasi-commune based in California. His followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. According to the Los Angeles County district attorney, Manson plotted to start a race war, though he and others disputed this motive. In 1971, he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including the film actress Sharon Tate. The prosecution conceded that Manson never literally ordered the murders, but they contended that his ideology constituted an overt act of conspiracy.”
Now that we’ve compared Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler, let’s compare him to Charles Manson.
When Manson was nine years old, he set his school on fire. When Trump was about the same age, he stoned a toddler trapped in a play pen. Not much later, he claims to have awarded his music teacher a black eye because, in the future president’s opinion, the teacher knew nothing about music. Manson had achieved a measure of success as a songwriter until the Beach Boys actually stole one of his songs, recorded it, and stiffed him for the royalties. Like Hitler the budding artist rejected by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, perhaps the Beach Boys’ betrayal is what tipped Manson toward mass murder and Trump toward normalizing the deaths of over 220,000 Covid-19 victims – the weaponization of a pandemic for politic gain. Are these not the same?
Court documents from the early 1960’s state that Manson had “a tremendous drive to call attention to himself.” He commanded a group of followers, mostly women, as well as a pornographic actor (Melania, are you listening?). It’s an indisputable fact that 47% of American women voted Trump in 2016. Like racist Donald Trump encourages his followers to violence, Manson convinced his own following that there would be a race war between America’s Black and White populations, and that their role was to create ‘Helter Skelter’ by committing murders that appeared to be racially motivated, thus advancing the cause. Trump’s advice to his well-armed, racist Proud Boys is to “Stand down and stand by.”
Tearing another page from Wikipedia:
“While it was later accepted during his trial that Manson never expressly ordered for the murders to occur, his behavior constituted a conviction of first degree, and conspiracy to commit, murder. This was due to the fact that his ideology of catalyzing a race war by killing those he saw as "pigs" was "a fundamental part of life" for those involved. Family members were also responsible for other assaults, thefts, crimes, and the attempted assassination of United States President Gerald Ford in Sacramento by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme.”
The Manson Family were not small fish. They had big goals not very different from those of the Trump Family, albeit they were not of the elitist ‘one percent’ and didn’t enjoy the enormous resources provided the Trumps via the many Koch-funded institutes and lobbyists, fast and loose campaign funding, and the deep pockets of the NRA, not to mention – in Eric Trump’s own words – “all the funding we need out of Russia.”
What kept Trump’s childhood and eventual fate from following the same trajectory as that of Charles Manson was merely the presence of money in Trump’s life and the absence of it in Manson’s. Both are narcissistic psychopaths with a history of cruelty. Both are charismatic showmen. Both exhibited the ability to mobilize followers to do what most people would characterize as evil. Both have a personal history peppered with criminal association, theft, physical and sexual abuse. But again, the big denominator here is money. Trump has it. Manson didn’t.
And in this society predicated on racism, bigotry and greed, what’s more important than money? Trump boasts he can "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters." Only money buys that kind of immunity.
Not only is Trump a dangerous psychopath with criminal intent; like Charles Manson, he’s a skilled manipulator and performance artist, balancing his native crudity with real power via his own wealth and that of the Koch-funded networks, determined to destroy anyone or anything that displeases him. Like Manson, Trump is a self-styled racist. Manson had a swastika tattooed on his forehead, but Trump doesn’t need a swastika to remind anyone of his political views and commitment to hatred. See www.francescorizzuto.com/post/trump-as-performance-artist.
Worse, this pathology appears to be in Trump’s DNA. There is nothing in Hitler’s background to suggest that his antecedents were psychos and lawbreakers, but there are plenty of bad apples on both the Manson and Trump family trees. Place Donald Trump alongside Fred Senior on the one hand and Don Junior on the other and you get the picture. Again, the only real arbiter is money. The Trumps have it; the Mansons didn’t.
Americans have less to fear from Donald Trump himself than they do from David Koch and his organization representing the so-called "One Percent," the powerful establishment that put him in the White House, and his despicable, dangerous offspring who promise to make the Trump Dynasty an American institution. The Koch crowd will eventually be forced to kick POTUS45 to the curb, but they’ve already picked his semi-ripe replacement straight off the family vine. Don’t hang your hopes on November 2020. If you want a glimpse of the future, then see www.francescorizzuto.com/post/hail-king-jared.
What you have, then, is the DNA of Charles Manson – or something even more lethal – running the United States of America, now and for the undetermined future. Be afraid. Very afraid. Other nations of the world will not rush to rescue Americans, like we once did the Germans, from their own bad choices.
I well and truly believe that there is a spirit of justice in the world. Call it consequences. Call it Karma. If that’s so, then the rest of the global community will abandon Americans to wallow in the misery and bad government they so richly deserve. European nations jettisoned slavery in their homelands and colonies many decades before the American Civil War. A century and a half later, America’s next civil war will be over that very same issue: the enshrinement of racism as a defining element in a society wherein those with money prosper and those without money…well, they don’t prosper.
Now I leave you, Good Reader, to fill in the gruesome details.