President Donald Trump on Monday declared that the day of his inauguration would now be known as a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion," echoing the language of several generations of North Korean leaders.
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country—and to renew the duties of Government to the people," the proclamation reads.
The Guardian writes that "Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, an Osaka-based organization with a network of high-level contacts in North Korea, said that by invoking patriotic devotion, Trump appeared to be channeling three generations of North Korea's Kim dynasty."
"Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day," Ishimaru told the Guardian. "They don't just appear in the media and speeches, but on posters and in other propaganda."
The newspaper points out that Trump's phrase "patriotic devotion" is a particular favorite in North Korea, offering examples of the phrase from speeches and propaganda:
In an address to a military parade in Pyongyang on 10 October 2015—the party's 70th anniversary—Kim thanked the "heroic men and women" of the army and security services who, "in hearty response to the party's appeal, have worked with patriotic devotion and created one heroic miracle after another" in their quest to build a "thriving socialist nation."
[...] On 19 December last year, the fifth anniversary of the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, the Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party's official newspaper, said of the late leader: "The noble image and patriotic devotion of the peerless patriot, who reliably defended socialism centred on the popular masses and turned [North Korea] into an invincible politico-ideological power and a world military power."
In an article just after Kim's death, the official KCNA news agency cited meteorologists as saying "the spring of prosperity under socialism will surely come...thanks to the patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il, who blocked the howling wind of history till the last moments of his life."
And last January, the Rodong Sinmun cited a speech in which Kim Jong-un had congratulated a socialist youth league formed in the name of his grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, on its 70th anniversary.
Kim, according to the paper, said the league had enjoyed "a history of brilliant victories of the great leaders' original idea of prioritising the youth and their wise leadership and a history of ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion, with which the young people of Korea have supported the party and the leader, the country and the people."
"It is not unusual for incoming U.S. presidents to draw on their political and philosophical beliefs when, as is customary, they give a new name to inauguration day," the Guardian adds. "Barack Obama called his first inauguration, in 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation; eight years earlier, George W. Bush began his first term by declaring the date a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving."
But Trump's "National Day of Patriotic Devotion" provoked alarm, disbelief, and comparisons to other autocratic leaders on Twitter:
Trump's "National Day of Patriotic Devotion" sounds like Hitler's 1933 "Day of National Awakening" pic.twitter.com/TwAOkfj5Yx
— Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris) January 23, 2017
National Day of Patriotic Devotion For Make Good Glorious Leader Restoring Greatness To Triumphant Nation was 1st title but had to shorten https://t.co/4Ef4ha3x2Z
— Danny Gold (@DGisSERIOUS) January 23, 2017
By executive order, Dear Leader™ declares a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” No, I am not kidding. https://t.co/sjcx8Joamc
— Jason Karsh (@jkarsh) January 23, 2017
This is more than ego. This is much more sinister. And much more dangerous. Don't laugh it off. https://t.co/5YyGTKRK1k
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 24, 2017