Joe Jarvis: Yes, as Stewart said, Trump is our Mussolini

A detail of the mural titled "Apotheosis of Fascism", by Luigi Montanarini, believed to have been painted between the late1930's and early 1940's, in the Salone d'Onore of the CONI headquarters, in Rome, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. While Germany systematically wiped out traces of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime after World War II, the legacy of his Axis ally, Benito Mussolini, remains present in Italy even today. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

“Donald Trump does not represent Republican ideals, he is our Mussolini. Donald Trump’s approach is — I am just going to do it.”

— Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, March 10, 2016

I generally shy away from hyperbolic references to fascist dictators. Such allusions only add heat to a conversation, not light. But, as my opponent has opened this door, allow me to agree with him.

Donald Trump does not care about the rule of law or any other virtue that underpins our Republic, such as integrity, equity or justice. He does whatever he believes to be in his own best interest, or sometimes whatever is his whim of the moment. He does so smugly, knowing that whatever laws or rules he breaks, he has followers who will support him. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he famously said in 2016.

Unfortunately, we now know that this group of blind loyalists includes almost every Republican in Congress, including the man who once compared Trump to Mussolini, Rep. Chris Stewart.

There were, of course, fascist dictators who did shoot people. Mussolini was one of them. Another was so impressed with Mussolini’s rise to absolute power that he tried in every way to emulate him. This man was responsible for the night of the long knives in the Weimar Republic. That republic came to an end when this Mussolini-admiring fascist decided that what was in his own best interest was also the best interest of his people.

He staged an attack on the Reichstag, blamed the Communist Party, jailed or killed politicians who weren’t loyal to his person, and then suspended all civil liberties. Among his first orders: all soldiers were required to swear an oath of loyalty to him personally.

This protege of Mussolini’s was, of course, Adolf Hitler. And his Nazi party was all about him, just as the Republican party is now all about Donald. Republicans are falling in line — beyond the impeachment votes, just look at how every single one of Utah’s Republican gubernatorial candidates are supporting Trump’s re-election.

Honest Abe Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, lived by his integrity. Ulysses S. Grant, a highly regarded president of his era, fought the KKK and stood by our republic’s newest citizens, the just-freed slaves. He lived the virtue of equity.

Teddy Roosevelt, the president of the progressive movement and the Square Deal for all Americans, battled for justice against the corporate interests creating wealth inequalities one hundred years ago.

And Dwight D. Eisenhower, who built the American Interstate highway system, stood up for the rule of law by deploying airborne troops to make sure that nine African American children could go to school in Little Rock, Ark.

None of these four great American presidents could win the nomination of today’s Republican Party. I doubt even a “compassionate conservative” like Ronald Reagan could win. Why? Because Trump’s Republican Party is no longer protecting our republic. It’s protecting a single man.

When Alan Dershowitz proclaimed that Trump could not be impeached for doing what he believed was best for the country, even though his acts were in his own self-interest and manifestly violated the rule of law, he unwittingly underscored how Trump’s regime is paralleling not just the rhetoric, but the acts of fascists dictators. Where was the outcry from members of the Republican Party? Where was the man who first compared Trump to Mussolini?

He was defending Trump on the thinnest of excuses. In deed, if not word, he has sworn loyalty to the man, betraying his oath of loyalty to our country and our Constitution.

But what he said correctly three years ago, I say again now: Trump does not represent Republican ideals — at least, not the ideals of the GOP that I grew up admiring and joining. Those who blindly swear their loyalty to him are giving away the rule of law — the foundation of American prosperity — and begging for a Weimar end to our republic.

I am running for Congress from Utah’s 2nd District. I invite Utahns who are pledged to our flag, and the republic for which it stands, to join me. Visit jarvisforcongress.com and show Chris Stewart that he cannot sell out our country’s values to a would-be dictator.

Joe Jarvis

Joe Jarvis, M.D., Salt Lake City, is a public health physician, author of the book “The Purple World: Healing the Harm in American Health Care” and a candidate for Congress on the ticket of the United Utah Party.