Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” directly compared President Trump to 20th century Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini while discussing the president’s attacks on the media Monday morning.
“He went full Mussolini,” Scarborough said, “and called the press the enemy of the people.”
The Italian dictator, commonly known as “Il Duce,” the Duke, was sometimes critical of the press, but is better known for widespread domestic political repression and the bloody invasion of neighboring countries while allied with Hitler’s Germany.
Asking historian Jon Meacham if there was precedent among past presidents for Trump’s comments about the media, Scarborough acknowledged, “They all think it privately. Nixon actually told it to other advisers.”
“Not in the sense where you would have a huge blanket statement. Presidents have been outraged by specific stories,” Meacham said, referring to incidents between presidents and the press dating back to the Jefferson administration.
Meacham did not acknowledge the Mussolini comparison, but agreed that we are in a new era of presidential press relations with Trump’s stance. “One of the things that we’re seeing with the entire Trump presidency is it’s sort of like having those old X-ray vision glasses, you know, from the comic books. Just everything that everyone else thought, he says.”