US President Donald Trump’s recent comments that his political rivals resemble “vermin” have been labelled as eerily similar to the hateful rhetoric used by dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump branded those who oppose him as “vermin”, claiming that they were “plundering the nation”. He then went on to ask the crowd whether there was “any way you can get rid of them”.
The language used by Mr. Trump has been described as inflammatory and divisive and has been compared to the words uttered by Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s. Both used ‘vermin’ to refer to Jews and other minorities, in a bid to dehumanise them and make them easier to target.
Critics say that Mr. Trump’s comments could encourage violence from his supporters and fuel tensions among the nation’s political rivals. The words also appear to break with the long-held American tradition of civility when it comes to political discourse.
The comparison between Mr. Trump and some of the most infamous dictators of the past century has been made before, and many argue that it has been frighteningly accurate.
But, despite the criticism of of these words, the President has so far refused to retract his statements or apologise for them. In fact, he has refused to address the comparisons made between his speech and that of dictators.
At a time when the United States is already divided along political lines, Mr. Trump’s words further fracture the nation. Tensions among the political adversaries have never before been so extreme, and Mr. Trump’s words suggest that this divide may only continue to deepen.
It appears that, once again, the US President has chosen to wield his words as a weapon rather than use them to unite. As such, his comments have led to yet another example of a leader playing off of divisions rather than helping to bridge them.
In an age when political civil discourse, mutual respect and allegiance to the nation before all else is needed, it appears that Mr. Trump’s words are having the opposite effect.