While People magazine has long been a pliant propaganda partner for Democratic presidents – they’ve gushed over the Clintons and the Obamas – Donald Trump is being questioned about his similarities to Hitler in an April 11 cover story.
“Who is the real Donald Trump? He's volatile, savvy and, some say, scary,” proclaimed the cover. People senior editor Charlotte Triggs and political reporter/Democrat-publicist Sandra Sobieraj Westfall made Hitler comparisons and complained they got “non sequitur” answers:
When PEOPLE asks about the comparisons that have been made between him and Adolf Hitler, Trump peels off a quick "Well, that's ridiculous," then says it's all because "the last person Hillary [Clinton] wants running against her is me."
That’s not a non sequitur. That’s a politician’s answer: denial, then change the subject. A regular American would answer by suggesting they leave the building. They would never dream of asking Hillary Clinton how she compares to Mao Zedong, so why is this fair?
People also finds Trump’s numerous critics, which never happens in their Democratic puff pieces. They mention his “pugnacious talk of roughing up protesters, his insults (“liar” and “loser” are popular in his prolific tweeting) and an isolationist agenda would ban Muslim immigrants, round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants already here and torture terror suspects and killer their families."
That language – about Muslims, trade, torture, and maybe pulling back from NATO – has already come at a price overseas. “ISIS loves invective that justifies what they’re doing,” says terrorism expert Malcolm Nance, a career Naval counterintelligence officer. “This is the first time we are hearing out of the mouth of a presidential candidate something that could literally lead to the economic, military, and ally collapse of the United States.”
That’s not much nicer than the Hitler question. Nance is a leftist-pleaser, writing articles like “Why the Bush torture architects must be prosecuted.” There are also Republican critics from the Bush camp:
Whether or not the public persona is schtick, it concerns some who've seen the presidency from the inside. That [Trump’s] kind of unpredictability is troubling to those who have seen the Presidency from the inside. "The depth and gravity of the responsibility of the office seem to elude Trump so far," says Mark Pfeifle, former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. "No one knows if reading the [CIA's daily terror-threat briefing] would sober him."
Then there are Trump fans, including former CNN host Piers Morgan:
Biographer Michael D'Antonio says his frequent insults are part of an attention-seeking strategy. "He's told me that he is aware of how extreme the media is, and how you must be extreme to get attention," D'Antonio says.
Friends vouch for the alter-ego premise saying that Trump’s bellow and bluster (critics call it bigotry and buffoonery) is an act, put on by a salesman and reality-TV star for ratings. "Donald is a showbiz guy, and his talk is his shtick," says one friend, Christopher Ruddy. Another, Omarosa Manigault, who starred on Trump's TV competition series The Apprentice, says he hasn't yet "made the total shift from entertainer."
Both, like a dozen others who know Trump personally, tell PEOPLE that this offstage Trump – "caring and kind," says Ruddy; "far more thoughtful and measured," as British journalist and Apprentice alum Piers Morgan put it – is the real Trump.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton has received just gush. In February, there was the Hillary-and-Chelsea valentine "On The Road: In an unexpectedly tough race, the former Secretary of State has her daughter and "blissful" playdates with granddaughter Charlotte to keep her going strong."
People was loving the idea of President Hillary in an issue last April:
The April 27 issue of People magazine includes two goopy mentions of Hillary Clinton. On the “Passages” page, the headline is “Hillary Clinton: It’s On!” The caption under Hillary’s picture read: “Clinton, 67, would be America’s first woman president.”
They quoted the first tweet: “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H”. They quoted superfans: “’I didn’t know in my lifetime a woman president would be so possible,’ marveled Carol Conklin-Spillane, 56, a high school principal with a cameo in Clinton’s video.”
The brief story ended with a quote from Marco Rubio calling her “a leader from yesterday.”
Then there was the loving People story in 2014 on "unlikely Internet sensation" Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no mention of any socialist "extremes."