Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda has become the latest high-profile name in the United States to question aloud whether Donald Trump is driving the country towards fascism, even likening him to Hitler.
Fonda, 80, noted the “parallels” between Trump’s administration and Hitler and the Third Reich at a women’s media event in New York late last week.
“Attacking the media is the first step and move toward fascism,” she said. “The cornerstone of democracy is an independent, democratic media. And it’s under attack in a major way because bad guys are running it all. We have to make sure it doesn’t continue.”
Trump, whose administration is under investigation by Special Counsel and former FBI chief Robert Mueller for its role with the Russian state in the run-up to the presidential elections, has consistently called American and international journalists “the enemy of the people” and last week appeared to endorse a Republican’s assault on a British reporter.
His verbal attacks appear to have whipped up far-right hatred, with a Trump supporter last week arrested and charged with sending two explosives devices to the CNN network.
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Douglas Frantz echoed the concerns in an article for the Globe and Mail, saying the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ was “the ultimate fascist statement – it promises to restore what’s lost and panders to the urge for enemies to blame”.
Frantz, who served as assistant secretary of state under President Obama, said Trump “reinforces the message of his signature slogan with false accusations, half-truths and outright lies, driving the country toward the brink of fascism”.
Hundreds of Jewish families in Pittsburgh, together with the city’s mayor and governor, urged Trump not to visit in the aftermath of the deadly synagogue shooting last week, saying his hateful rhetoric had contributed towards the motivations of the killer. He visited anyway.
Writing in the Guardian last week, Timothy Snyder, the Levin Professor of History at Yale University, said Trump “bases his rhetoric on the fascist idea of ‘us and them,’ leads fascist chants at rallies, encourages his supporters to use violence, muses that Hillary Clinton should be assassinated, denigrates the intelligence of African Americans, associates migrants with criminality, runs an antisemitic advertisement, spreads the Nazi trope of Jews as ‘globalists,’ and endorses the antisemitic idea that Jewish financier George Soros is responsible for political opposition”.