On Friday’s episode of “Real Time,” one of the biggest topics of the night was, of course, the end of the Trump administration and the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency. Or, as Maher aptly described it during his opening monologue, the “semi-peaceful transfer of power.”
As you know, the reason that transfer of power was only “semi-peaceful” is because, on Jan. 6, Donald Trump incited a violent mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol in an attempt to undo the 2020 election. That mob, as we’ve since learned, reportedly intended to harm (and in some cases, murder) members of Congress and even then-Vice President Mike Pence as part of their effort to help Trump subvert and overthrow American democracy.
So it is that which prompted Maher to, later in the show, bluntly refer to Trump as “a fascist.”
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Despite the evidence of this accusation televised around the world just two weeks ago, one of Maher’s guests, panelist and co-host of the podcast The Fifth Column, Kmele Foster, objected to this characterization of the former president. “I often worry about giving the man too much credit, and I worry about using words that are highly charged, that may not, in fact, illuminate the conversation in a way that we really want to,” Foster told Maher.
But Maher dismissed that concern fairly definitively.
“Except that — I agree with that in theory, but there’s a lot of definitions of fascism, I’ve heard many over the years, from learned people. But I think the one thing we can all line up behind, it is this idea that ‘might makes right,’ and that we don’t respect democratic norms,” Maher said. “If you can’t call [fascist] what the people who wanted to undo the election, that even the Republican judges and politicians said was fairly called, I don’t know what fascism is. Then what definition do we have for it? That is fascism.”
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In wrapping up the point, Maher also alluded to concerns that even some Republican members of Congress might have aided and abetted the insurrection. “A lot of these people, even the Republicans in Congress, they’re not sorry about what happened Jan. 6; they’re just sorry it didn’t work,” he said.
Watch Maher’s exchange with Foster above.