MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Tuesday said he was torn between taking seriously and just seeing as fear-mongering the reported plans that Donald Trump has to go after critics, conduct mass deportations and introduce camps for immigrants if he wins back the White House next year.
Authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat told Hayes that threats from Trump and his allies should definitely be taken at face value.
It’s “what fascists do,” said the history professor at New York University and author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.”
“In all of my research, every time these people come to power, or before they come to power, when they come on the scene, they tell us who they are and what they’re going to do. And people don’t want to listen. Perhaps it’s too upsetting, they don’t want to take them seriously,” Ben-Ghiat cautioned.
People initially thought Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was “some sort of blusterer,” she said. “We don’t take them seriously at our peril and often it’s when it’s too late people wake up and say, ‘Oh I should have listened when Trump said he could shoot someone and not lose any followers in Jan. 2016.’”
“Back then he was telling us he was sympathetic to violence, was capable of violence personally and he would be loved for all of this,” Ben-Ghiat added. “And he is loved for this. And he’s been trying to reeducate Americans since 2016 to feel that violence is patriotic and justified.”