Trump Says He Won’t Be a Dictator… “Except for Day One”

The former president, as per usual, is saying the quiet part out loud.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Bryon Houlgrave/ AP Photo

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Donald Trump’s long history of telling on himself continues with the admission of his authoritarian aspirations. 

The startling confession came on Tuesday during a town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, during which the former president was asked whether he’d seek revenge on his political enemies if elected again to the White House. Trump responded that he would not be a dictator—”except for day one.”

“I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill,” Trump continued, clarifying what issues he would assume in the role of dictator. “Other than that, I am not a dictator.”

It’s not clear if Trump was joking. But considering his long record of authoritarian behavior and threats to democracy, these comments are no laughing matter. As my colleague David Corn has written: 

Trump’s desire to be a strongman ruler are no secret. He has repeatedly uttered statements that reveal a craving to be in total control of the US government. As he mounts a second campaign for the White House, his team has openly discussed his plans to consolidate government power in the White House should he win.

But on the right, it seems dictatorial dreams are indeed hilarious.

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