June 14, 2024

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This growing obsession with the “enemy within”, Trump

This growing obsession with the “enemy within”, Trump

(Washington) A concept with almost religious overtones, reminiscent of the raging anti-communism of the 1950s: For months, Donald Trump has vaguely referred to the “enemy from within” in his speeches.

“There is Russia, there is China. But with an intelligent president, it’s much easier to manage,” he said, for example, in an interview that aired Sunday on Fox.

“The enemy from within, on the other hand, they’re going to destroy this country,” the 77-year-old Republican president said in his first interview since a New York jury found him guilty as a presidential candidate in November.

In November, during a rally in New Hampshire, in the northeast of the United States, Donald Trump said: “The threat from outside forces is much less alarming, dangerous and serious”.

In the same speech, he used the word “vermin” to refer to his political opponents, who were criticized for drawing on the vocabulary of 20th-century authoritarian regimes.

In February, during an evangelical conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the former president repeated it: “The people inside our country are the most dangerous,” adding: “To win this fight, we have to come out of the wars. In the past, we’ve had the hand of God.” required. »

In a recent interview Timeformer businessman, many defendants, used the same rhetoric: “The enemy from within is more dangerous for our country than China, Russia and others’ external enemies. »


But who is this “enemy from within” to whom the millionaire refers to the vindictiveness of his followers, and to whom does he attribute his sinister intentions?

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“It’s not just directed against [le président démocrate] There are more and more threats against Joe Biden, the judicial system, judges, prosecutors,” notes Rebecca Gill, who teaches political science at the University of Nevada.

Photo by Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Donald Trump delivers a speech at a New Jersey rally

During his speeches, Donald Trump accused this “enemy from within” of not only persecuting him, but of wanting to open the floodgates to illegal immigration, raise taxes and undermine traditional values.

“This echoes what we have heard in the past from fascist and authoritarian governments,” notes the academic.

The term “enemy from within” appeared in American political life in the 1950s in a speech by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.

His name is associated with the so-called “witch hunts” that hunted communist sympathizers in the American administration, and more broadly in all sectors of society.

According to psychiatrist Leonard Glass, who participated in a collaborative work titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” published in 2017, the rhetoric used by the Republican candidate has the main purpose of inciting his supporters.

“Army of God”

It is a “repeated call which incites suspicion against all whose opinions differ, and makes them responsible for all evils. “They are not seen as comrades worthy of respectful debate, but as wretched bandits,” he analysed.

Victoria Johnson, professor of sociology at the University of Missouri, distinguishes behind this image of the “enemy within” a binary message aimed at the Christian nationalist right: “You are with God or you are with Satan . »

“It’s an election strategy,” he says, noting that Donald Trump himself is “clearly not a religious person.”

For example, he recalled that former Republican national security adviser, retired General Michael Flynn, organized the “Reawaken America Tour” aimed at awakening “God’s army.”

During these meetings, homosexuality, immigration and progressive ideologies are strongly criticized, while Donald Trump is presented as the first defender of Christianity.

Eric Trump, one of the former president’s sons, chose a religious term to react to the guilty verdict announced in New York last week: He felt his father was becoming a “martyr.”