Trump/Pence Move Aggressively to Consolidate Fascist Power



The regime headed by Donald Trump and Mike Pence has seized on the crisis brought on by the coronavirus to go on the offensive—upending the rule of law, and emboldening different components of the fascist social forces cohered around the regime. The actions listed below are not isolated outrages. They are components of an overall offensive by a fascist movement intent on complete domination. It must be stopped, and driven from power before it fully consolidates its rule.

The following are some key ways this was expressed in the past week alone.

Charges Dropped Against Flynn

William Barr, attorney general of the Trump/Pence regime, announced that the Department of Justice is dropping all charges against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with Russian diplomats in late 2016, as the Trump/Pence regime prepared to assume power. He also admitted in open court that he had lied.

Barr’s unprecedented move came after months of what the Associated Press called “mounting pressure from the Republican president and his political allies on the right.” It is part of a protracted effort to reverse the basis on which Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian influence in the 2016 elections was held. Fascists headed by Trump claim that the entire Mueller investigation was illegitimate—that there was no basis for the FBI to question Flynn in the first place, and therefore the fact that he lied to FBI agents about his Russian connections is not a crime.

Barr’s move is a leap in turning the Department of Justice and the attorney general, who are supposed to be impartial arbiters of the law, into tools of the executive branch (the president), in order to free a functionary of the fascist regime who admits he committed perjury. It aims to create unchallenged and unquestioned authority for and loyalty to the fascist executive throughout all levels of government. Susan Hennessey, a lawyer at the Brookings Institution, wrote, “This moment represents the full collapse of an apolitical Justice Department.”

Barr’s dropping of charges against Flynn was almost immediately coupled with threats of revenge against Trump’s opponents in government. Trump’s campaign said that Flynn had been targeted by a “corrupt witch hunt ... on Joe Biden’s watch” and issued a call to “investigate the investigators.” Sean Hannity, a mouthpiece for the fascist regime on Fox News, said, “Now, it’s time to investigate Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice.” And Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that “bad actors should be punished accordingly, you know, the way they would have punished us!”

Barr defended his action with brazenly fascist epistemology. When CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell asked him how his action would be viewed by history, Barr sneered, “History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who is writing the history.”

Christian Fascism, not Science, Determines Policy

On May 7, as the official COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. reached 75,000, word leaked out that the Trump regime had rejected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on re-opening the country. The Associated Press reported that agency scientists were told that a plan they had prepared summarizing their guidance “would never see the light of day.”

There were reasons related to opening up the U.S. economy that went into the regime’s decision. But a key factor in Trump’s rejection of the guidelines is that Christian fascist forces in and out of the regime do not want the government issuing even voluntary guidelines about people’s ability to gather in churches—even when doing so plays a role in spreading the disease to many others. The New York Times reported that a “senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services with deep ties to religious conservatives objected to any controls on church services.” Roger Severino, an official in the regime who previously directed the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, said, “Governments have a duty to instruct the public on how to stay safe during this crisis and can absolutely do so without dictating to people how they should worship God.”

Packing the Courts with Fascists

Stacking federal courts with fascists has been a top priority for the Trump/Pence regime, and a significant reason it has had unwavering support from Christian fascist leaders. Senate leader Mitch McConnell, a close Trump ally, reconvened the Senate this week so that he could push through more of Trump’s appointments. McConnell said he was calling the Senate back, despite the threat of the coronavirus, because “we need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges.”

The first hearing is for 38-year-old Justin Walker, a McConnell protégé. He has been nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is widely regarded as second in significance only to the Supreme Court. Walker, who was a clerk for Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, has never tried a case, and was deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association (ABA). The position he is taking is not open until September, but the National Law Journal reported that Trump has said that if his nominees are not approved, he would utilize “a presidential power that has never been used to adjourn the legislative body and fill positions himself.” Walker mockingly “thanked” the ABA and various liberals who have opposed his nomination in a recent speech, saying, “Thank you for serving as an enduring reminder that although my legal principles are prevalent, they have not yet prevailed. And although we are winning, we have not won.”

Inspector General Fired for Telling the Truth

Trump fired Christi Grimm, who had been inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, after he learned she had issued a report critical of his regime’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Grimm had interviewed 323 hospital administrators for her report, which indicated that hospitals struggled with shortages of critical supplies such as personal protective equipment, and that some supplies they received from federal stockpiles were “of insufficient quantity and quality.”

Trump responded, “Give me the name of the inspector general.” A few days later Grimm, who had worked for HHS for 21 years, was fired.

Going Maskless—“Live and Let Die”

On May 6, Trump toured a mask manufacturing factory in Phoenix. Trump brazenly did not wear a mask, even as he stood over a bin of masks ready for shipment—modeling and promoting ignorant, selfish behavior for his throngs of flag-waving supporters.

Trump usually favors patriotic songs for his public events, but for this trip Guns n’ Roses’ version of “Live and Let Die” blared over factory loudspeakers. Whether intentional or not, in the midst of people dying in large numbers at this very moment, the playing of this song could be interpreted as a certain soundtrack for the Trump/Pence fascist movement: one section of people—namely Trump’s followers, the mobs who howl at his rallies, the cops who love him, the Christian fascists who have unwavering loyalty to him and his fascist program—should live. And as for others—the prisoners, immigrants, Black people, Native peoples, Latinos, the homeless, all those who are dying in grossly disproportionate numbers from this virus—let them die, to save the “great American way of life.” is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination to bring thousands, eventually millions of people into the streets of cities and towns, to demand:

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