Doris Kearns Goodwin sat down with MSNBC’s Mika Brzenzinski to discuss the explosive president and more
October 19, 2018
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin agrees President Donald Trump is leading the United States down the road to fascism — but she doesn’t like to use that particular word.
The historian and author believes the word is too strong and loaded with negative associations to persuade Americans to reject Trump and his abuses, but MSNBC’s Mika Brzenzinski challenged her to call out what she see clearly sees.
“Does this look like United States presidential leadership or would you argue, like Madeleine Albright does, that we are leading down a very different path here,” Brzezinski said, “and all the pieces are fitting together towards someone that is trying to make this a dictatorship?”
Goodwin did not disagree, but she recoils at using such loaded terminology to describe a U.S. leader.
“The problem like using words like fascism or dictatorship is I think the pattern of behavior that we’re seeing may be leading in that direction, and you just want to be able to persuade other people to look at this president,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin laid out Trump’s weaknesses as a leader, and she said Americans should worry more about those than his apparent appetite for authoritarianism.
“My argument would be to look at whether he is a leader or not,” she said. “What does a leader normally do? A leader normally takes blame when things are wrong, a leader normally shares credit when things are right, a leader normally does a team that’s built with people who are strong-minded and can argue with him, and you get a purpose in that team.”
“He controls his negative emotions,” Goodwin continued. “A leader normally communicates honestly and with truth. If we can just show that he’s not necessarily a leader, that’s bad enough, rather than putting a label on him.”
However, she warned darkly that Trump could gather dictatorial powers by placing himself above special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — but she argued that Americans should just wait until then to push back.