IT IS perhaps no great surprise that Donald Trump’s supporters often mention a “deep state” that is determined to undermine the president. After all, Trump has frequently expressed his admiration for a variety of authoritarian leaders, including Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the foremost exponent of the concept of a deep state. It was the deep state, he asserted in 2013 when he was under investigation for corruption, in cahoots with the phony media that was behind it all. In the aftermath of the July 2016 abortive military coup he has brandished the term to justify his arrest of over 150,000 military officers, civil servants and journalists.
Trump’s relationship with the Turkish president has blown hot and cold, but his adoption of Erdoğan’s rhetoric has been a consistent theme of his seemingly never-ending tweets. Similarly, Trump regularly echoes the constant imprecations that his great friend Benjamin Netanyahu hurls at the media and its “fake news” in response to allegations of the growing list of corrupt practices surrounding him and his family—or has Netanyahu been echoing Trump? No matter; the two men, and Erdoğan, all see the same enemies, and for the same reasons.