Documentarian Ken Burns launched an extended attack on Donald Trump during a commencement address at Stanford University Sunday, calling Trump a “proto-fascist” and calling on “Vichy Republicans” to reconsider their support for him.
Burns began, “For 216 years, our elections—though bitterly contested—have featured the philosophies and characters of candidates who were clearly qualified.” He added, “That is not the case this year.” Burns encouraged Stanford grads to work to defeat Trump saying, “Before you do anything with your well-earned degree you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process….”
“To fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance. Who is against lots of things but doesn’t seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises and terrifying Orwellian statements. A person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter. Who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment.
“Who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, Muslims and all immigrants, a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan. An infantile, bullying man who depending on his mood is willing to discarded old and established alliances, treaties and long-standing relationships…
“As a student of history I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist, anti-immigrant know-nothingism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African-Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber-rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that predictably points fingers, always making the other wrong.”
Burns went on to praise Republicans including “the last two Republican Presidents” who “have declined to support him.” Burns then called on “Vichy Republicans, who have endorsed him” to reconsider. That’s a comparison to the French government that cooperated with the Nazis during World War II. In essence, Burns is calling Trump a Nazi.
Immediately after shaming Republicans as Nazi-sympathizers, Burns added, “We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourettes of his tribalism.”