Forbes billionaire George Soros is a man of many dimensions. He was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930. When he was 10, Hungary was pressured to join the Axis alliance with Germany. Hungary’s army joined Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. While it was in progress, Hungary pursued armistice negotiations with the United Kingdom and the United States. Hitler discovered these negotiations, and responded by sending German forces into Hungary to occupy it in 1944. Eventually, the Soviet forces kicked out the Germans, and established a communist regime in Hungary by 1947 (Wikipedia). Having seen tumultuous political upheaval involving a wide variety of political extremists, the 17 year old George Soros and his family fled from Hungary that year.
Soros ended up in England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. Then he moved to the United States, where he proceeded to amass a huge fortune as an international financier; Forbes magazine has recently ranked him as the 16th most wealthy person in the world (Soros, Forbes).
Obviously among the world’s economic elite, he recently attended the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Interviewed by Bloomberg TV one evening, he proclaimed that “Donald Trump is doing the work of ISIS” (Forbes). He pointed specifically to Trump’s proposal to close US borders to Muslims. Such rhetoric and ostensibly serious policy proposals are likely, Soros explained, to persuade Muslims that “the West” is in fact engaged in a war against Islam, and that ISIS is a legitimate response to its pervasive and often violent hostility to Islam. (After all, American drones and bombs have killed far more Muslims since 2001 than attacks by Islamists on Americans or other Westerners.)
Almost certainly, the political traumas Soros lived through in his youth color his attitudes about Trump . The country where he was born was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany. Then it was attacked and occupied by the Communist Soviet Union. By the time Soros fled Hungary with his family, Hungary was in the grip of a Soviet-allied Communist government.
Just how “extreme” is Donald Trump? It is often remarked that the United States has never developed a truly socialist party. It is perhaps equally notable that it has never had a genuinely fascist party, or leader. Some observers, however, detect genuinely fascist tendencies in Trump (New York Times). Soros, given his individual political history, would be sensitive to such tendencies. Soros is also certainly aware that at one crucial point in his rise to dictatorial power, Hitler was democratically elected. In addition, and again, because of his experiences growing up in Hungary, Soros is fully aware of the dangers posed by fascist groups like ISIS.