It is of course nonsense to describe Donald Trump as a fascist or a dictator, as his opponents like to do. And yet… well, he does sometimes rather invite it.
There was his inaugural address in which he dusted off the ‘America first doctrine’ – as used by the isolationist, anti-Semitic group that urged the US to appease Nazi Germany. Then there is his interventionist strong-arming of companies to keep jobs in America. And on Saturday he stood at the CIA headquarters, in front of a wall commemorating the organisation’s fallen heroes, and boasted of the number of times he has appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
Now comes a proclamation declaring the day of his inauguration as ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion’. It was apparently one of the first things he signed after entering the Oval Office on Friday. It reads:
‘A new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart. We are one people, united by a common destiny and a shared purpose. ‘Freedom is the birthright of all Americans, and to preserve that freedom we must maintain faith in our sacred values and heritage. Our Constitution is written on parchment, but it lives in the hearts of the American people. There is no freedom where the people do not believe in it; no law where the people do not follow it; and no peace where the people do not pray for it. ‘There are no greater people than the American citizenry, and as long as we believe in ourselves, and our country, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. ‘NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2017, as National Day of Patriotic Devotion, in order to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country — and to renew the duties of Government to the people.’
It reads like a steamy love letter to the new American greatness, all stirred up by the new president.