In the past, I have believed comparing odious current leaders to Hitler was over-statement. For Trump it isn't. Hitler had the advantage of coming to power in a country that had been badly damaged in a war, that had its central political institutions swept away, that was mired in deep economic distress. Trump had no such fertile ground. In 2016 American political institutions were in place, the economy was well recovered from 2008, and a much broader and expanding media was active and protected by the Constitution. Trump's fascists aspirations had much less fertile soil in which to grow. But, he tried. His language, as Weisser points out, was similar to Hitler's. His descriptions of the nation's ills and their causes was also Hitlerian. His gestures and facial expressions during his speeches were those of Mussolini. Trump likely ran in 2016 expecting to use the effort as a massive branding exercise, but when he unexpectedly won he evidently raised his expectations. Trump could not take over the media, though Fox evidently decided to become a willing tool, but he was zealous in his efforts to discredit those he could not control. And as General Mark Milley is reported to have said, January 6th was Trump's "Reischstag moment," or an effort at it. The US thankfully proved tougher than Weimar Germany, but Trump definitely gave it a try.

Tom Davis is a 1972 West Point graduate who holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University. He is author of the Cold War novel “Conclave” published in 2016.

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