Shortly after CNN was evacuated due to a bomb that was mailed to them by a Trump supporter, Marco Rubio took to twitter to defend Donald Trump’s attacks on the media:
Yes words matter. Because freedom of speech allows us to air & settle our disagreements & grievances using words INSTEAD of violence. The 1st Amendment protects press freedom,but it doesn’t bestow immunity from criticism. Criticism & calling people to violence are not the same. https://t.co/MFS48bRg75
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 24, 2018
It is difficult to understate just how very wrong Marco Rubio is with this defense of Donald Trump’s attacks on the media. Donald Trump has not been simply criticizing the media. Donald Trump has been telling his supporters that the media is an “enemy of the people”:
President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media “is the enemy of the American people.”
Labeling the media as an “enemy of the people” is not merely a “criticism”, as Marco Rubio argued. That statement is telling Trump’s supporters that the media is in effect at war with the American people. There is also a historical record of other groups being labeled as “enemies of the people”.
In the Soviet Union, the term was used repeatedly. An “enemy of the people” could be imprisoned, expelled or executed, and lose their property to confiscation. The term had become such a tool of terror that Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev called for an end to the use of the term, stating “the formula ‘enemy of the people’ was specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals” who disagreed with Stalin.
In Nazi Germany, the term “enemy of the people” was used to describe Jews, who then became victims of genocide.
Trump using the term “enemy of the people” to describe the media is both dangerous, and another in a long line of examples that shows his fascist tendencies. Marco Rubio’s defense of Trump’s rhetoric shows that Marco Rubio is an apologist for dangerous fascism.