At a rally in New Hampshire, just before the state’s primary, former President Trump had a bit of a cheeky exchange with a supporter. Amidst the cheers, someone shouted, “12 years of Trump,” and Trump, with a twinkle in his eye, responded, “Oh, you’re right. That’s very inter[esting].”
He then playfully added, “Don’t say that too loud, though. They’ll start calling me a ‘fascist’ again! You know, they just love that label for me.”
This banter comes amidst a backdrop of some Democrats and Republicans worrying that Trump, if reelected, might run the White House with an iron fist. These concerns got the spotlight last month during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity. When Hannity prodded Trump about potentially playing the role of a ‘dictator’ in a new term, Trump initially sidestepped a straight answer. On being pressed, he quipped, “Except for day one,” referring to his plans to tighten border security and kickstart drilling in the U.S. “After that, I’m not a dictator,” he clarified, with a bit of his signature bravado.
He reiterated these sentiments a few days later, stirring the pot of speculation about what a second Trump presidency might entail.
A subsequent poll revealed that 56% of voters think Trump might lean towards dictatorial tendencies if given another term. While some Republicans seemed to brush off these ‘dictator’ comments, the White House and Democrats have been ringing the alarm bells.
Trump also raised eyebrows in November when he likened his political foes to “vermin,” a comparison that had critics drawing parallels with historical dictators.
All this unfolded as Trump geared up to go head-to-head with his primary challenger, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in the much-anticipated New Hampshire primary.