Republicans Silent After Trump Says He Would Be a “Day One” Dictator

In response to Republicans refusing to condemn Donald Trump’s admission last night that he intends to be a dictator right out of the gate, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy owe the American people an answer on the debate stage tonight as to why they’re implicitly supporting the Republican frontrunner’s assertion he would be a dictator on day one if reelected president. Any serious candidate for president should be brave enough to call out this anti-American, authoritarian threat for what it is. Trump’s comments last night were the latest in his extreme pattern of dangerous ploys to once again undermine our democratic institutions, and Republicans from the presidential campaign trail to Congress are doing this country a disservice by remaining quiet. Whether or not 2024 Republicans grow a backbone and a conscience, the American people will reject these disqualifying comments just as they’ll reject MAGA extremism up and down the ballot next November.”

Donald Trump last night said he would be a dictator “on day one” if he is reelected president in November 2024.

New York Times: “Twice during a town hall on ‘Fox News’ on Tuesday night, Sean Hannity asked former President Donald J. Trump to say categorically that he would not abuse presidential power and retaliate against his political opponents if elected next year. Both times, Mr. Trump declined to give an outright denial.”

“‘Do you in any way have any plans whatsoever, if re-elected president, to abuse power?’ Mr. Hannity asked. ‘To break the law? To use the government to go after people?’ Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, deflected.”

Trump: “He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said, ‘No, no, no, other than day one.’”

Associated Press“Trump declines to rule out abusing power to seek retribution if he returns to the White House”

MSNBC“According to Trump’s own on-air comments, he envisions a near-future in which he runs for the nation’s highest office, wins, creates a temporary dictatorship, pursues some goals he considers worthwhile, and then voluntarily agrees to start honoring the United States’ constitutional system of government again.”

New York Magazine: “This exchange is best understood as Trump enjoying the idea of himself as dictator. Trump has always admired dictators and has longed to be granted the obsequious deference they are afforded. As president, his favorite moments were trips to places like North Korea, where he spoke admiringly about the way his counterparties were treated. (‘He’s the head of the country,’ Trump said of Kim Jong-un. ‘And I mean, he’s the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different. … He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.’)”

John Berman, CNN: “Do you have any plans to abuse power, break the law, or go after people, and here’s the thing, Van, we timed it. He didn’t answer that question for five minutes. For five minutes, he obfuscated, didn’t give a yes or a no for five minutes, and when he finally did answer, the answer was, ‘dictator on day one.’”

Bret Baier, Fox News“The former president has said some things that if any other former president had said them, people would be freaking out about. About what he’s going to do, retribution, going after political opponents, DOJ.”

Doug Heye, CNN: “That is what we’ve come to expect from Donald Trump. He always says the quiet part not out loud — very, very loud. And I think that we know that you can’t be a dictator on day one, and then day two revert back to democracy. Day one is going to last for a long time.”

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: “If any other politician in American history were asked the question, ‘Are you gonna be a dictator,’ no. Donald Trump never answered it. He never answered it.”

Trump has repeatedly exhibited an undemocratic and dictatorial style of leadership that he’s promised to double down on if he regains power.

The Atlantic: “From Trump himself and the people around him, we have a fair idea of a second Trump administration’s immediate priorities: (1) Stop all federal and state cases against Trump, criminal and civil. (2) Pardon and protect those who tried to overturn the 2020 election on Trump’s behalf. (3) Send the Department of Justice into action against Trump adversaries and critics. (4) End the independence of the civil service and fire federal officials who refuse to carry out Trump’s commands. (5) If these lawless actions ignite protests in American cities, order the military to crush them.”

New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s violent and authoritarian rhetoric on the 2024 campaign trail has attracted growing alarm and comparisons to historical fascist dictators and contemporary populist strongmen. In recent weeks, he has dehumanized his adversaries as ‘vermin’ who must be ‘rooted out,’ declared that immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood of our country,’ encouraged the shooting of shoplifters and suggested that the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, deserved to be executed for treason.”

The Guardian: “Donald Trump says he will lock up his political enemies if he is president again.”

ABC News: “Two days after Election Day, President Donald Trump on Thursday called for vote counting to be stopped in key states that could soon determine the election’s outcome — contradicting his campaign’s argument that vote counting in battleground Arizona — where he was leading — should continue because winning that state would give him a viable path to keep the White House.”

Associated Press: “The House Jan. 6 committee’s final report asserts that Donald Trump criminally engaged in a ‘multi-part conspiracy’ to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol.”

Forbes: “Trump said of his relationships with dictators, ‘the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them,’ which he insisted is ‘not a bad thing.’ 

“‘The easy ones,’ Trump said, referring to America’s allies, ‘I maybe don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much.’”

Trump’s extreme rhetoric last night came after he used a speech last month to parrot words uttered by the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Washington Post: “Trump calls political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler, Mussolini”

The Messenger: “The former president has come under scrutiny for a Veteran’s Day speech during which he called Democrats ‘vermin,’ promised to ‘root out’ the ‘radical left thugs’ in the country and suggested those who disagree with him politically pose a larger threat to the U.S. than Russia, China and North Korea.”

“Historians have linked the comments, which Trump later reiterated in a post on Truth Social, to language used by dictators, such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.”

Axios: “Why it matters: Some historians have compared Trump’s dehumanizing language — including his claim that undocumented immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood of our country’ — to the rhetoric of fascist dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.”