Trump Is Bad Because He’s Similar To Other US Presidents, Not Because He’s Different

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readJun 2, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

We’re already seeing a ton of ridiculous drama queenery about Trump’s second presidential run, claiming he’s grown even more extremist and fascistic than when he was president in what amounts to a repeat of the “Trump is a second Hitler” narrative that dominated US political discourse in his first run.

A Washington Post article titled “The deepening radicalization of Donald J. Trump” asserts that “Trump is sketching out the contours of a second term potentially more dangerous and chaotic than his first,” citing a New York University professor who says, “When authoritarian leaders lose office, they come back, like, 10 times worse — they never get less extreme, they always get more extreme.”

But when you look at the authors’ evidence that Trump is becoming more dangerous and evil, there’s nothing about assassinating foreign leaders, starvation sanctions, cold war brinkmanship, mass bombing campaigns or Trump’s Yemen veto, or any of the other horrors he unleashed upon the world as commander in chief from 2017 through 2020. Instead, the article talks about his attitudes toward the January 6 Capitol Building riot and his “grab them by the pussy” remarks about women.

Trump ramped up cold war aggressions against Russia, helped set the US on track for war with China, killed tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, vetoed attempts to save Yemen from U.S.-backed genocide, assassinated Iran’s top military commander, worked to foment civil war in Iran using starvation sanctions and CIA ops with the stated goal of effecting regime change, occupied Syrian oil fields with the goal of preventing Syria’s reconstruction, launched repeated airstrikes against the Syrian government, greatly increased the number of troops in the Middle East and elsewhere, greatly increased the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reduced military accountability for those airstrikes. He also imprisoned Julian Assange by escalating the empire’s war on journalism for exposing US war crimes.

All of which are in perfect alignment with the actions of both Trump’s predecessors and Trump’s successor.

Donald Trump spent four years proving to everyone that he wasn’t bad because he’s similar to Hitler, he was bad because he’s similar to Obama. He wasn’t terrible because of the ways he differed from other presidents, but because of the ways he was the same.

The tiny smattering of violence that occurred in the US because of Trump was microscopic compared to the death and destruction he inflicted upon the world outside the nation’s borders. But the mainstream worldview can’t acknowledge those actions, because the mainstream worldview is designed to support and facilitate those actions.

Yes, Trump is evil. Yes, you should be alarmed that monsters like him exist. But not because he is a unique aberration and deviation from the US government’s status quo; rather, you should be alarmed because he perfectly exemplifies and bolsters the US government’s status quo.

The bad things about Trump specifically are dwarfed by the bad things about the US empire generally — not by a percentage, but by many orders of magnitude. The empire’s malfeasance is exponentially more significant than whatever face happens to be sitting at its front desk.

That’s what people should be freaked out about. Not that the front desk of the imperial office might be occupied by an obnoxious oaf for four years, but by the empire itself. That’s where all the real horrors are. They’re just invisible to the mainstream worldview. By design.

The US presidency can only be held by imperialist monsters. That’s the only kind of person who ever makes it through the security checkpoints on becoming president of the world’s most powerful and destructive government which serves as the hub of a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood.

Sometimes when I tell Australians who’ve been indoctrinated by our nation’s insanely propagandistic imperial media what I do for a living, they tell me “Ooh, it would be terrible if Trump wins the election!” I tell them “Yeah, it will be! Also it will be terrible if anyone else does!”


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Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons)