Donald Trump Berlusconi

Nice piece by Bill Emmott who — as a former Editor of the Economist — was twice sued for libel by Berlusconi. Sample:

The reality is that, while Berlusconi certainly has his charm, Trump’s swelling base of support seems to see a certain charm in him, too, even if it is a less seductive version. Moreover, while Berlusconi undoubtedly possesses business acumen, he has, like Trump, cut plenty of corners along the way. The ties of Berlusconi’s close aides and friends to Italy’s various Mafia clans are well documented.

But none of this is particularly important, in terms of its implications for the United States today. What is important is that both Trump and Berlusconi are ruthless and willing to resort to any means to achieve their (self-serving) ends.

Given this, underestimating Trump would be a huge mistake; he will always prove stronger, more slippery, and more enduring than expected. The only way to avoid Berlusconi-level disaster – or worse – is to continue criticizing him, exposing his lies, and holding him to account for his words and actions, regardless of the insults or threats he throws at those who do.

Too many Italians shrugged their shoulders at Berlusconi’s lies and failings, figuring that he would soon go away, having done little harm. But he did not go away, and he did plenty of harm. The US cannot afford to make the same mistake. The price of liberty, Americans are fond of saying, is eternal vigilance. In confronting Trump, there can be no discount.