At a Republican Party fundraising dinner and reception held at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend, Donald Trump remarked that he envies Chinese President Xi Jinping for having recently abolished the two-term limit for his office, thus opening the way for Xi to remain as president of China for life, well past what had been a presidential term that was due to expire in 2023. At 64 years of age, Xi could remain as president well into the 2030s and, quite possibly, beyond.
Ignoring the fact that China is a one-party state, Trump told the enthusiastic 250 Republican donors, who paid $25,000 per person to attend the dinner, “He’s [Xi's] now president for life . . . president for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.” Trump is limited to two terms in office as stipulated by a constitutional amendment enacted in 1951.
On December 18, 2000, after it became clear that George W. Bush was president-elect after a dubious election that was contested in the courts, the president-elect said, after a meeting with congressional leaders, “I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don’t agree with each other. But that’s OK. If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” Bush’s cackling after his comment showed he thought it was funny, but members of Congress on both sides of the aisle felt the comment was inappropriate and dangerous. Bush got the message, but that did not stop him from praising other dictators, even while claiming credit for ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, who he called a ruthless dictator. Bush’s dictator transgressions now seem mild compared to those of Trump.
Trump called Xi “a great gentleman,” adding, “he’s the most powerful president in a hundred years.” Trump appeared to have disregarded the fact that Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong ruled China with an iron fist from 1949 to 1976.
Trump’s quip about becoming president-for-life was not his first dalliance with projecting fascist tendencies. On February 28, 2016, Trump tweeted a quote made notorious by Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, “It is better to live one day as a lion than a 100 years as a sheep.” In defending the tweet after criticism, Trump said, “Mussolini was Mussolini . . . It’s a very good quote. It’s a very interesting quote.” The electoral gains of Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an open admirer of Mussolini and his Italian fascist movement, will undoubtedly encourage Trump’s promotion of fascism and dictators.
According to a 1990 interview she gave to Vanity Fair, Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, said Trump kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf on a book cabinet by his bed. She said Trump would read the book “from time-to-time.” Asked by Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner about the book, Trump replied, “Who told you that? . . . I don’t remember . . . Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.”
In May 2017, Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he was “doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Since being elected in June 2016, Duterte has carried out more than 6,000 extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers. When Duterte decides to eliminate a political opponent, he merely charges them with drug dealing. Last month, Trump said he wished he could execute drug dealers in the United States, following the example of Singapore. Since its independence in 1965, Singapore adopted a meritocratic form of government, which dissuades active political opposition in return for a generous social welfare system. Trump has been quoted by one White House aide, according to Axios, as saying, “You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.”
During a visit to Manila on November 17, 2017, Trump yucked it up with Duterte after the Philippines autocrat accused American journalists of being “spies.” In response to American reporters’ questions about Trump bringing up human rights in his conversations with Duterte, Trump cut off the questioners with Duterte chiming in, “With you around, guys, you are the spies,” repeating, “You are.” In 2016, Duterte justified killing journalists in the Philippines, declaring, “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.”
In September 2017, Trump praised Turkey’s autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has imprisoned opposition politicians, journalists, businessmen, military officers, and academics, giving him “high marks.” It is now widely believed in Turkey and abroad that Erdogan allowed the July 15, 2016, coup to commence, knowing full well that he would be able to put it down in its infancy and justify his subsequent assumption of near-dictatorial powers. Trump congratulated Erdogan for the passage in 2017 of a referendum that gave the Turkish president virtual unlimited powers.
Trump has also offered praise for Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power after he ousted the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi in a July 2013 coup. In April 2017, Trump said he was “very much behind President al-Sisi,” adding, “he’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” Sisi has jailed the political opposition and members of the media and permits no dissent in Egypt.
In November 2017, Trump praised a royal coup within the House of Saud as an “anti-corruption” initiative. Trump tweeted, “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing . . . Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!” Trump failed to mention how King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), has been taking part in the Saudi “milking” operation. MBS, with his dementia-stricken father’s blessing, arrested hundreds of Saudi princes, government ministers, businessmen, and diplomats in a sweeping purge that saw some Saudi princes, reportedly with the aid of mercenaries supplied by Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s Abu Dhabi-based Reflex Responses (R2), being hung upside down by their toes during torture sessions in Riyadh. Prince’s sister, Betsy De Vos, serves as Trump’s Secretary of Education. Trump’s reference to “harsh treatment” by MBS failed to mention that at least two Saudi princes were assassinated by forces loyal to MBS.
Trump has also avidly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on the verge of being re-elected Russia’s president and who has held the post of president or prime minister since 2000. In September 2016, Trump said of Putin, “he’s been a leader, far more than our president [Barack Obama] has been a leader.”
In April 2017, Trump, during a meeting with his erstwhile Argentine real estate business partner, President Mauricio Macri, called the right-wing Argentine leader “a good friend,” “a great, wonderful person,” and “a great leader.” Macri has misused the Argentine court system and presidential powers to imprison and put on trial leaders of the political opposition, as well as attacking the opposition media and labor unions. Trump has also praised Honduran strongman President Juan Orlando Hernández, who was re-elected in a November 26, 2017, election marred by electoral fraud and violation of civil liberties.
The 1930s saw the global rise of fascist dictatorships in Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Austria, Portugal, China, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, and other nations. The world could count on an American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to hold the ground for a small group of democratic nations that were, early on, outgunned by the fascist powers. And had FDR not been president in the 1930s, with fascism-appeasers such as Herbert Hoover, Alf Landon, and Wendell Willkie serving as successive U.S. presidents, the entire world would have quickly come under the yoke and jackboot of fascist rule under the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. Today, a supporter and appeaser serves as president of the United States and there is no longer an American backstop to prevent the world from falling under fascist rule.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2018 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).