Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again," Trump stated in a press release calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." (Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr/cc)

With Anti-Muslim Bombast, Trump Doubles Down on 'Fascist Demagoguery'

'The truth is his language is dangerous,' say Bernie Sanders and other critics

Deirdre Fulton

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is doubling down on his xenophobic remarks about Muslims, even as they provoke widespread outrage and condemnation across the political spectrum.

On Tuesday, Trump defended his fascist plan for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" by comparing it with President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.

"This is a president who was highly respected by all," Trump said in morning TV interviews on Tuesday. "If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse."

But those who oppose Trump's controversial platform dispute his interpretation of both history and current events.

"For God's sake," Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director Nihad Awad told ABC7 in Washington, D.C. on Monday night. "Haven't we learned lessons from history by targeting religious minorities and ethnic minorities?"

Flanked by members of Congress and civil rights leaders at a Virginia press conference earlier on Monday, Awad declared: "Donald Trump is using his platform to create a division within America. Leadership is about uniting Americans, not exploiting division based on race and religion. I know it is helping Donald Trump and others to stay high in the polls, but they are low in the minds of those who think and reflect upon our history."

Still, Awad and others warned that to write off Trump's bombast would be dangerous.

"Whatever else you want to say about him, Trump is a skillful entertainer, and good entertainers—like good fascist demagogues—know their audience."
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

"[I]t's important not to treat Trump as some radical aberration," The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald wrote on Tuesday. "He's essentially the American id, simply channeling pervasive sentiments unadorned with the typical diplomatic and PR niceties designed to prettify the prevailing mentality. He didn't propose banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. because it’s grounded in some fringe, out-of-the-mainstream ideas. He proposed it in part to commandeer media attention so as to distract attention away from his rivals and from that latest Iowa poll, but he also proposed it because he knows there is widespread anti-Muslim fear and hatred in the U.S."

He continued: "Whatever else you want to say about him, Trump is a skillful entertainer, and good entertainers—like good fascist demagogues—know their audience."

Noting that "cultural, religious, ideological, financial and tribalistic motives for isolating and demonizing Muslims" preexist Trump's candidacy, Greenwald warned: "Trump is not an outlier, and it’s dangerous to treat him as one."

White House hopeful Bernie Sanders, whom recent polls have shown would beat Trump in a general election match-up, added his censure to the mix in an email to supporters late Monday night.

"It's fun for the political media to treat Donald Trump like he's the lead character in a soap opera or the star player on a baseball team," Sanders said. "But the truth is his language is dangerous, especially as it empowers his supporters to act out against Muslims, Latinos, and African-Americans."

Other presidential contenders blasted Trump's comments as "unhinged," "fascist" and "downright dangerous."

And the watchdog group Media Matters revealed Monday that Trump's proposal leans on a misleading poll from a group led by "one of America's most notorious Islamophobes," Frank Gaffney, president of the conservative thinktank Center for Security Policy.

Members of New York City's Arab, Muslim, and human rights communities are planning to gather at Columbus Circle near the International Trump Tower on Thursday in solidarity with refugees and in protest of harmful racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo