Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose new book “Fascism: A Warning” comes out next week, told NPR Monday that fascism can happen in countries with democratic systems and engaged populations, warning that it should not go “unnoticed until it’s too late.”
“That’s what’s so worrisome, is that fascism can come in a way that it is one step at a time, and in many ways, goes unnoticed until it’s too late,” she said.
“I believe very much that democracy in the United States is resilient [and] that people can be skeptical about things that are going on, but I really am afraid that we are taking things for granted,” she added.
Albright called Trump “the most anti-democratic leader that I have studied in American history,” while adding that Trump’s attacks on the press and his “disdain for the judiciary, and the electoral process and minorities” show that his instincts aren’t democratic.
“I’ve picked up that phrase ‘see something, say something,’ and I am seeing some things that are the kinds of things that we have seen in other countries, and so I am saying not only should we say something, but we have to do something about it,” Albright said.
“We normally have believed that the president tells the truth. And I know I’m very worried about the fact that there are deliberate ways of misstating the issue, and then the people think, ‘If the president said it, it must be right,’ when it’s just a deliberate untruth,” she continued.
Albright also criticized Trump’s “America First” foreign policy as “anti-American.”
“What Trump is doing is making America seem like a victim. Everything is somebody else’s fault: Countries are taking advantage of us. The Mexicans are sending drug dealers. Countries are not paying their dues. The trading system is unfair. And by making Americans seem like victims all the time, it then is able to, again, make the divisions stronger in terms of who is with us, who is not with us, and it’s totally anti-American foreign policy. And so I think it’s very, very worrisome in terms of this victimhood,” she said.
“I don’t see America as a victim. I see America as the most powerful country in the world that has a role to play, standing up for democratic ideals and human rights across the board.”
Last year, the former top diplomat criticized Trump’s “disdain for diplomacy” that is driving an exodus of staffers from the State Department and creating a “national security emergency.”