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News News Articles Donald Trump Wednesday, May 1 2024

Interview with a Dictator: Trump’s Authoritarian TIME Magazine Interview

May 01, 2024

If you can believe it, Trump’s disturbing comments endorsing extreme state legislatures banning abortions and jailing anyone who violates those bans was just the beginning of the dark authoritarian future forecasted if Trump returns to the White House.

In a wide-ranging interview, Trump sounded off on his dictator-like fantasies to completely subvert democracy, pardon violent insurrectionists who attack the U.S. Capitol in his name, hint at violence if he doesn’t win in November, shred decades of institutional norms, destabilize relations with our western allies, weaponize the Department of Justice against his political rivals, use the National Guard to crack down on First Amendment rights, and more.

“While Americans are experiencing the greatest economic comeback in American history under President Biden, Trump is solely focused on seeking revenge from his political rivals, abusing the power of the presidency, and taking away rights from millions of Americans,” said American Bridge 21st Century Presidential Campaigns Communications Director Brandon Weathersby. “There is no other way to interpret Trump’s comments than someone who is serious about ruling as a dictator with political retribution at the top of his agenda above all else. He will stack his administration with loyalists only concerned with enabling his worst power-grabbing and vengeance-seeking instincts. The stakes are way too high to allow Trump staffers or MAGA talking heads to spin his words. Trump said what he said. Our democracy is on the ballot this fall and that’s why he can’t be let anywhere near the White House again.”

More frightening answers from Donald Trump’s Time Magazine interview:

  • Trump doubled down on his frightening “dictator” comments as a “joke.”
    • On if he could see why the language was concerning to Americans: “I think a lot of people like it.”
    • When pressed on if he could see the comments as contrary to democratic principles: “No. I think the press does.”  
  • Trump wants to weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate President Biden.
    • On firing a U.S. attorney who didn’t prosecute after being ordered to by Trump: “It depends on the situation, honestly.”
    • On appointing a special prosecutor to go after Biden and his family: “Well, it depends what happens with the Supreme Court.”
  • Trump still holds on to the conspiracy that he won the 2020 election, wants to pardon the violent Jan 6. insurrectionists, and implies there may be violence if he doesn’t win in November.
    • On pardoning every insurrectionist: “I would consider that, yes. Yes, absolutely.”
    • On expecting political violence in connection with the election this fall: “But I don’t think we’re going to have that. I think we’re going to win. And if we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.”
    • On hiring anyone who believes Joe Biden won the 2020 election: “I wouldn’t feel good about it, because I think anybody that doesn’t see that that election was stolen.” 
  • Trump refused to believe FBI statistics that didn’t match his campaign message.
    • On violent crime going down throughout the country: “Well it came out last night. The FBI gave fake numbers. I don’t believe it. No, it’s a lie. It’s fake news. […] The FBI fudged the numbers and other people fudged numbers. There is no way that crime went down over the last year.” 
  • Trump is committed to deporting 15-20 million people based on President Dwight Eisenhower’s disastrous Operation Wetback which deported undocumented citizens as well as American citizens, destroying local communities and economies.
    • On the operations of such an effort: “I would have no problem using the military, per se.” 
    • On whether he’d override the Posse Comitatus Act which prevents a president from deploying the military against civilians: “Well, these aren’t civilians.”  
    • On if he’d rule out building new migrant detention camps: “No, I would not rule out anything.”
  • Trump wants to transform local police officers into an unaccountable deportation force at the order of the president.
    • On his plan to operationalize mass deportations: “And we’re going to be using local police because local police know them by name, by first name, second name, and third name. I mean, they know them very well.” 
    • On what gives him the authority to have local police involved in deportations: “​​Well, there’s a possibility that some won’t want to participate, and they won’t partake in the riches, you know.” 
    • On changes to police powers: “And we want to give them immunity from prosecution if they’re doing their job.”
    • On if he’d go through Congress for authority to transform local police powers (after being confused by the question): “We’d have to take a look at that.”  
  • Trump wants to leave open the door to withhold foreign aid authorized by Congress.
    • On if he would rule out withholding or conditioning foreign aid: “No, I—we have to be. Look, there’s been no president that’s done what I’ve done for Israel”
  • Trump again threatened to destabilize NATO and the defense of our Western allies.
    • On maintaining 80 years of American leadership in defending the West: “I want them to pay their bills. Very simple. NATO is fine. See, the problem I have with NATO is, I don’t think that NATO would come to our defense if we had a problem […] it’s a one-way street, even if they paid. I want them to pay. But I believe if we were attacked, NATO wouldn’t be there. Many of the countries in NATO would not be there.”
    • On specifically aiding Ukraine against Russian aggression: “There are two parts of that question. One is, four years ago, and one is now. I did a hell of a job getting money for NATO because nobody else—NATO had no money. NATO couldn’t have even prosecuted what they’re doing right now. They had no money. All they were doing was building stupid office buildings. They built a $3 billion office building.” 

Published: May 1, 2024 | Last Modified: May 8, 2024

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