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Media Dubs Trump's Appearance a Mussolini Moment



After President Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening, MSNBC and CNN hosts and guests alike got their talking points aligned to compare Trump’s appearance on the Truman Balcony to Benito Mussolini. 

It began on MSNBC’s The Reidout where host Joy Reid declared, “This is a Mussolini moment, Donald Trump who looks like he has make up on which means somebody had to get close enough to make up his face with his favorite orange patina. He’s standing there as if he is a member of the old Russian tsar family. I don’t know what that’s supposed to be, I guess it’s his sort of discount [Brazilian President] Bolsonaro.”

 

 

 

 

Thus started a nearly 24-hour cycle of Mussolini comparisons. A couple of hours later, Anthony Scaramucci was on Cuomo Prime Time praising host Chris Cuomo:

The thing that worries me the most, Chris, and your soliloquy in the beginning was great but what about the people who are helping him? … You’ve got, you know, I don’t know, the American Mussolini standing on the balcony. We’ve never had a president stand on that balcony and do what he just did. We have to beat him, Chris.

The soliloquy Scaramucci referred to was more of a tantrum where Cuomo refused to play audio from Trump’s address because it was “propaganda” and “bullshit.”

Back on MSNBC, Anand Giridharadas told Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word: “I think what’s so interesting in the way you set it up is that part of why this is happening, part of why we’re having these half comic, half absolutely terrifying Mussolini-esque scenes on the balcony of the White House is it benefits trump for us to be living in this eternal present every day.”

The Mussolini comparisons continued in the morning on Morning Joe where presidential historian Michael Beschloss was on to talk about Jonathan Alter’s new biography of Jimmy Carter:

And one other quick thing, Joe, you know, going back to last night, anyone who thinks that what we saw last night that strutting by our president and that Mussolini stare and whole Vaudeville act. Anyone who thinks that’s normal, could you imagine in a million years Jimmy Carter or any modern president doing something like this? We are off the rails. We saw it last night.

The Mussolini references became so ubiquitous that Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass didn’t even need to name him on CNN Newsroom, who claimed “it was also a bit of theatrics that seems to me not fitting for an American political leader. Too many historical associations, none of which shall we say is positive.”

Beschloss appeared again on Andrea Mitchell Reports where Mitchell introduced that segment with a final Mussolini analogy, “The video of President Trump standing on the Truman Balcony yesterday saluting brings to mind disturbing historical references, dictators like Italy’s Benito Mussolini. What message was the president trying to send?”

Maybe the media should read another book.

These Mussolini references were made possible by advertisers such as AT&T (on MSNBC), Humana (on MSNBC), Liberty Mutual (on CNN), and Qunol (on MSNBC). The contact information is linked.

Here are transcripts for the October 5 and 6 shows:

MSNBC’s The Reidout
October 5, 2020
7:09 PM ET

JOY REID: This is a Mussolini moment, Donald Trump who looks like he has make up on which means somebody had to get close enough to make up his face with his favorite orange patina. He’s standing there as if he is a member of the old Russian tsar family. I don’t know what that’s supposed to be, I guess it’s his sort of discount Bolsonaro.

(….)

CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time
October 5, 2020
9:52 PM

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: The thing that worries me the most, Chris, and your soliloquy in the beginning was great but what about the people who are helping him? A demagogue can only be powerful if willing accomplices. What does it say for guys like Mitch McConnell who won’t come on your show, Kevin McCarthy won’t come on your show. What are you guys doing? You swore an oath to the constitution of the United States and to protect the American citizens and you’ve got, you know, I don’t know, the American Mussolini standing on the balcony. We’ve never had a president stand on that balcony and do what he just did. We have to beat him, Chris

(….)

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
October 5, 2020
10:55 PM ET

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: I think what’s so interesting in the way you set it up is that part of why this is happening, part of why we’re having these half comic, half absolutely terrifying Mussolini-esque scenes on the balcony of the White House is it benefits trump for us to be living in this eternal present every day.

(….)

MSNBC’s Morning Joe
October 6, 2020
8:52 AM ET

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: And one other quick thing, Joe, you know, going back to last night, anyone who thinks that what we saw last night that strutting by our president and that Mussolini stare and whole Vaudeville act. Anyone who thinks that’s normal, could you imagine in a million years Jimmy Carter or any modern president doing something like this? We are off the rails. We saw it last night. 

(….)

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto
October 6, 2020
9:50 a.m. Eastern

RICHARD HAASS: In some ways it was — it’s quintessentially irresponsible in terms of taking off the mask but it was also a bit of theatrics that seems to me not fitting for an American political leader. Too many historical associations, none of which shall we say is positive and I thought to come out of a situation where he received the most extraordinary health care available to anyone in the country or the world and then to go on the balcony and flaunt not wearing a mask, it seemed to me, again, totally irresponsible. 

(….)

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports
October 6, 2020
12:28 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: The video of President Trump standing on the Truman Balcony yesterday saluting brings to mind disturbing historical references, dictators like Italy’s Benito Mussolini. What message was the president trying to send?”



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