Craig Unger has written extensively on Donald Trump, publishing a best seller on the US property tycoon called “House of Trump, House of Putin”, in which he investigates the relationships between the former US President, Vladimir Putin and the Russian mafia. He has recently released another blockbuster, titled “American Kompromat”. In the new book, Mr Unger investigates alleged links between Mr Trump and the Russian secret services.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the author characterised Mr Trump’s politics as tending towards fascism.
He also argued that the Republican Party had to turn its back on Donald Trump and “Trumpism” if it was to have a political future.
Mr Unger said: “I have always been wary of attributing terms, but yes I think his work is fascism in terms that it is barbarian, racist and anti-democratic.
“There are many ways to define fascism. What he was doing was dictatorial and he was using every loophole in our government to dismantle the checks and balances that assure at least some fairness.”
The best selling author went on to argue that under Donald Trump, the Republican Party had become anti-democratic, whose political future was in doubt unless it could expel the Trump extremists.
He explained: “I think the Republican Party itself is kind of finished in a way – it’s against democracy. I mean that’s the dividing line it really is.
“If it is to survive, it has to jettison the Trump sort. Right now that is probably three quarters of the party or more.
“But I think it’s going to be a long time before all this is resolved and play itself out. The Republican Party – maybe they will be a fascist party or they will be split in two and one will be sort of a centrist party that believes in democracy.”
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In an op-ed for CNN, Thomas Weber, a professor of history and international affairs at the University of Aberdeen, said that though there are overlaps between “Trumpism” and fascism in their use of demagoguery and promises to restore the glory of the nation, there are also important differences.
The key difference between Donald Trump and fascists lies in their views on individualism and the pursuit of self-interest.
He writes: “For fascists, individuals can only thrive as part of a collective, held together through common kinship and ideology and organised through a strong state.
“Trump’s starting point is the exact opposite. For him, the pursuit of individual self-interest is paramount to all human existence. For Trump, it seems this pursuit is the glue that holds an intricate web of relationships together.”
He concludes that “Trumpism” is not fascism, albeit no less dangerous as a political force.