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Garry Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and author of “Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.”
Donald Trump’s dark and frightening speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday had pundits and historians making comparisons ranging from George Wallace in the 1960s to Benito Mussolini in the 1930s. As suitable as those comparisons may be, the chill that ran down my spine was not because of Trump’s echoes of old newsreel footage. Instead, I saw an Americanized version of the brutally effective propaganda of fear and hatred that Vladimir Putin blankets Russia with today.
This isn’t to say Trump plagiarized Putin verbatim. The language and tone were comparable the way that the Russian and American flags make different designs with the same red, white and blue. Nor was it merely the character of the text; Trump’s mannerisms and body language — toned down from his usual histrionics — were startlingly similar to the sneering and boastful delivery Russians know all too well after Putin’s 16 years in power.
In both cases, the intent of the speaker is to elicit the visceral emotions of fear and disgust before relieving them with a cleansing anger that overwhelms everything else. Only the leader can make the fear and disgust go away. The leader will channel your hatred and frustration and make everything better. How, exactly? Well, that’s not important right now.
The demagogic candidate must paint a bleak picture of the status quo, citing every catastrophe and failure before presenting the even darker future ahead if he isn’t granted the power to act, and act now. You might believe a campaigning politician would prefer to evoke positive emotions in prospective voters, but this does not fit the profile of the strongman. Instead of telling people what he will do if they elect him, he threatens them with what will happen if they don’t. The democratic leader needs the people. The tyrant, and the would-be tyrant, insists that the people need him.
Putin, long in power, must downplay Russia’s crisis. Trump, the outsider, must exaggerate the United States’. Trump has focused on terrorism and divisive domestic issues such as illegal immigration to populate his enemies list. He has also joined Putin’s crusade against NATO, a bizarre stance for an American presidential candidate if he actually considers global terrorism to be a serious threat. Strategic cooperation in the free world is more important now than ever. I am writing this from Tallinn, Estonia, which, without NATO, would indeed soon be in the “suburbs of St. Petersburg,” as Trump admirer Newt Gingrich recently put it.
Terrorism is a serious and scary problem, and the United States should be leading a serious international conversation about how to deal with it. Instead, Trump does his best to make sure people are as terrified as the murderers hope they will be. It mirrors Putin’s bombastic rhetoric as he produces his own deadly reality show in Syria, where Russian forces are carrying out massacres that will create millions more refugees and inspire another generation of jihadists.
With all the lights, the balloons and the ‘USA’ chants, the TV ratings for the final night of the Republican National Convention and Donald Trump’s acceptance of the party’s nomination for president, viewers just weren’t turning on their televisions in comparison with past conventions.
Donald Trump did indeed lose out to John McCain in the battle for biggest RNC audience. Coverage of the last night of the 2016 RNC drew 32.2 million total viewers across ABC, CBS, NBC, UNI, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC and NBC Universo. While technically these are “Big T.V. ratings!” as Trump promised in a tweet, it’s worth bearing in mind that was the collective audience of 10 networks….
That’s slightly less than the 30.25 million that tuned in to Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012; however, that figure includes viewership across ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Current, Mun2, PBS and Univision. The extra networks provided a lift of almost 2 million viewers when all was said and done, so it’s likely Trump will see some sort of lift when the final tally comes down.
Less that Mitt Romney. Sorry but that needs to be repeated. Most of us remember Karl Rove’s epic meltdown after President Obama handily defeated Romney in 2012. And to win, Donald would need even more support from minorities and women than Romney received. Do the math.
Sarah Jones at PoliticusUSA writes:
The Republican convention failed to win over Latino voters. The convention started with Clinton at +55 lead with Latino voters and ended with her at +63 lead.
US News reports:
For comparison’s sake, about 30.3 million viewers across 11 networks tuned in to watch the final night of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, when former GOP nominee Mitt Romney delivered his acceptance speech, according to Nielsen. Trump called that event “the single most boring convention I’ve ever seen” in an April interview with The Washington Post.
Looking back over the last two presidential election cycles, Trump’s fourth-day numbers also fall short of those garnered by the 2012 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions, which by Nielsen’s estimates drew 35.7 million viewers across 13 networks and 38.4 million viewers across 10 networks, respectively. And his performance is well shy of the final night of the 2008 Republican National Convention, which attracted around 39 million viewers across eight networks and was headlined by Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Donald didn’t even do as well as McCain. Lest we forget, McCain stood beside Sarah Palin and still did far better than Donald. Sarah Fucking Palin. Let that sink in.
And it’s quite possible that many of the viewers, like myself, were liberals watching the GOP’s nominee make a hot mess of himself live on television. With his manic personality on display, he ostracized chunks of our population, while white people in the audience cheered him on. Where was Donald’s ‘African American’ last night? The whiteness of the audience could hurt a person’s eyesight. But the screeching was even worse. Donald’s face turned from orange to red in seconds. The anger and the hostility was unbearable. Is this what conservatives want to be now?
Donald Trump has been hammering Hillary Clinton quite a bit since they became political opponents, but a new Clinton campaign ad serves as a reminder that the Republican nominee thought pretty highly of Clinton before she became his political opponent.
One could say that Trump was for Hillary before he was against her.
The GOP nominee may like to call Clinton childish nicknames and accuse her of being a criminal now that he’s trying to beat her in an election, but he seemed to admire her (and Bill Clinton) in the past.
“Hillary is smart, tough, and a very nice person,” Trump said in 2008, the video noted. “I know her very well, and I know her husband very well, and I like them both.”
The video also shows footage of Trump calling the Clintons “just really terrific people.”
The alleged billionaire also went as far as saying that “[Hillary] works really hard” and “she’d make a great president.”
The campaign ad concluded with the caption, “Donald Trump: occasionally right.”
CLEVELAND, OHIO — As the Republican National Convention unfolded in Cleveland this week with the Republican Party officially calling for measures to make it harder for people to vote, two different courts across the country issued rulings easing those restrictions.
Federal judges this week ruled against voter identification laws in Wisconsin and then Texas, finding that they disproportionately impact minority voters and violate the Voting Rights Act. Those photo ID laws, which have become more prevalent across the country in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013, are formally included in the GOP platform.
“We support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting,” the document reads. “We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws.”
Despite evidence that voter fraud is virtually non-existent and that photo ID laws keep younger, low-income, minority voters from participating in elections, Republican delegates told ThinkProgress the two recent court decisions will hurt democracy and compromise elections.
“Why do we even have any sort of laws? Why do we have speed limits? Why do we have any keys on any doors?” Milwaukee election commissioner and delegate Bob Spindell asked. “We need laws in place because if the election is such, there’s no way really to go back afterwards and see what had happened, if somebody was legit or somebody was not.”
In the ruling this week, the Wisconsin judge found that the fears of voter fraud are not legitimate enough to warrant the suppressive laws. A Wisconsin study examining the 2004 election found just seven cases of fraud among the 3 million votes cast in the state’s 2004 election, and none were the kind of fraud that would be prevented by a voter ID law.
Nonetheless, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) called the recent court ruling unfortunate and said it will allow Democrats to commit voter fraud.
“I find it interesting that the Democrats don’t care that you’ve got to present a photo ID to get medication, they don’t care about that, but they do care about photo ID for voting, which makes me wonder if they’re doing something wrong about the voting,” he told ThinkProgress from the floor of the RNC.
Also standing among Wisconsin’s delegation near the RNC arena stage, Spindell said Tuesday that he has been involved in the past several elections in Milwaukee and has seen “no problem whatsoever” with the state’s voter ID law.
“I don’t know of even one instance in the city of Milwaukee during the last couple of elections where there was a problem where somebody couldn’t have an ID or didn’t have an ID and couldn’t vote,” he said.
As ThinkProgress reported during the Wisconsin primary in April, Milwaukee students were forced to wait in long lines to register and cast ballots on election day, in large part because the state’s voter ID law does not accept student IDs. Across the state, non-white voters were more likely to request a free ID card and were more likely to be denied from the polls.
Noting that impact, the Wisconsin federal judge this week shot down the law because it would be “impossible or nearly impossible” for thousands of qualified voters to obtain a free ID card in order to cast a ballot. The ruling will allow Wisconsin citizens to vote without ID this November if they sign an affidavit attesting to their identity.
Spindell said that the acceptance of affidavits, coupled with Wisconsin’s allowance of same-day voter registration, will lead to people committing voter fraud. “You can just walk in with all sorts of IDs, whether it be a payroll check or any kind of ID,” he said. “What can happen is they can register and go vote, and there’s no way of checking on them into well after the election.”
In perhaps an even more important decision for civil rights, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down a decision Wednesday finding that Texas’ voter ID law violates the VRA. But instead of striking down the law, the appeals court left it up to the district court to decide how to move forward and whether or not the law should be in place during the general election.
If the court strikes the law down before November, Jim Lowder, a Texas delegate who serves as the GOP chairman in Amarillo, Texas, said that we can expect to see Democrats committing voter fraud.
“How many cases of Republican voter fraud have we had in the past several years? Virtually none,” he told ThinkProgress. “How many of Democrat voter fraud? There have been some. We’re not trying to go after anybody, but we need to do the right thing by everybody.”
As the Fifth Circuit noted this week, studies have found that Texas’ voter ID disproportionately hurts minorities — mainly Hispanic and black voters. Yet Republican lawmakers and delegates in Texas insist that the laws have no negative effects.
“I’ve worked in the polls,” Lowder said. “We have a real fair system. Anybody that tries to discourage someone else is not allowed to do so. I’m concerned about voter fraud, but I’m concerned that everybody that can legally vote can do so.”
A total of 33 states will have laws in place this year requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. As many advocates and reporters have noted, those laws have the ability to swing elections in favor of Republicans.
Some lawmakers, like Grothman, have even admitted that their purpose is to help Republicans win elections. From Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday, Grothman attempted to explain his admission that photo ID will help Republicans win in Wisconsin.
“I think the cleaner the election, the better chance the Republicans have,” he said.
The mother of the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens—who was killed in the2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya—has called for an “immediate and permanent stop” to the use of her son’s name by GOP leaders and Donald Trump in his presidential campaign, calling the practice “opportunistic and cynical.”
“As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party,” Mary Commanday said in a letter-to-the-editor published in the New York Times on Saturday.
“I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign.”
Republicans have repeatedly criticized presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the way she handled the Benghazi attack as then-Secretary of State.
“I do not blame Hillary Clinton or [Former Secretary of Defense] Leon Panetta,” she said in an interview with the New Yorker last month. “They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had.”
She also criticized the way the Benghazi attack has been politicized and used in the current presidential campaign, according to the magazine.
“With the many issues in the current election, to use that incident—and to use Chris’s death as a political point—is not appropriate,” Anne Stevens said.
The mother of another U.S. Foreign Service official killed in the Benghazi attack spoke at the Republican National Convention this week, faulting Clinton for her son’s death. Trump has done the same in his own speeches.
“Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched,” Trump said about Clinton in a recent speech on foreign policy. “Among the victims is our late ambassador, Chris Stevens.”
“He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed,” Trump said.
Among the headline speakers were five of Trump’s children, his third wife (h/t Michelle Obama), Ben Carson (with special guest Lucifer), a Nazi impersonator, and a veritable who’s who of washed-up TV stars, avocado farmers, and multi-level marketers.
Meet the Press: Sen. Bernie Sanders; Raging Narcissist Donald Trump (R); Roundtable: Rachel Maddow (MSNBC), Chris Matthews(MSNBC), Andrea Mitchell (NBC News) & Former RNNC Chair Michael Steele.
Face The Nation: President Barack Obama (D); Roundtable: Ron Brownstein (National Journal), Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review),Jamelle Bouie (Slate) & Nancy Cordes (CBS News).
This Week: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Clinton Campaign ManagerRobby Mook; Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort; Roundtable: Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, “Independent” StrategistMatthew Dowd, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) & Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Fox News Sunday: Clinton Chief Campaign Strategist Joel Benenson; Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort; Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Anne Gearan (Washington Post), George Will (Washington Post) & Amy Walter (Cook Political Report).
State of the Union: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook; Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort;Roundtable: Neera Tanden (Center for American Progress), Progressive Activist Van Jones, Former South Carolina State Sen.Andre Bauer (R) & Republican Pollster Kellyanne Conway.
60 Minutes will feature: a joint interview with presumptive Democratic nominees Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (no preview available); a report on some of the people behind the Make-A-Wish Foundation (preview); and, a report on bonobos (preview).
Late night shows:
Monday: Actress Allison Janney; Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY); Singer-Songwriter Ryan Adams.
Tuesday: Actor Jeff Daniels; “Egyptian Jon Stewart Bassem Youssef; Musical Group Aurora.
Wednesday: TV Host John Oliver; Actor Jai Courtney; Radio Personality Charlamagne Tha God.
Thursday: Comedians Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer; Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; Comedian Eric Andre.
Friday: Guests TBD.
Monday: Election Special Tuesday-Friday: DNC Coverage.
Tuesday: Rapper Wyclef Jean.
Wednesday: Conservative Writer Eliana Johnson.
Thursday: Legal Scholar Cass Sunstein.
Friday: Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson.
Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort conducted a little female outreach.
“Many women feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” Manafort said. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They will hear the message. As they hear the message, that’s how we will appeal to them.”
Matthews, who became renowned during the 2008 campaign for his own sexist commentary on Clinton, seemed appalled. “Is that 21st century talking? Wives are concerned about how their husbands are doing at work?”
“Because they can’t afford their lives anymore. That’s the point. For some people, it’s about jobs,” Manafort said. He also noted that he could “speak personally” to the issue of wives being upset at their husbands’ income.
Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes did someLatino outreach.
CNN Donald Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes criticized Tim Kaine for speaking Spanish at his joint rally with Hillary Clinton today.
Kaine is fluent in Spanish, and Hughes said that while she appreciates the multiculturalism there, “What Mr. Trump did, he spoke in a language that all Americans can understand. That is English.”
“I didn’t have to get a translator for anything that was going on at the RNC this week. And I’m hoping I’m not gonna have to kinda start brushing up on my Dora the Explorer to understand some of the speeches given [at the DNC].”
This article seemed interesting, simply by it’s title. Once I read further, I realized I should share and everyone can draw their own conclusion.
No doubt Pro-Trump folks on TFC will cry “foul! This person is simply a quack who hates Trump” Anti-Trump folks might believe everything she has written in this article.
My point is, in everything we read and hear on TV, Radio and every other form of media…is designed to sell you an ideology or a product. The following article may…or may not be guilty of the same.
I believe TFC folks are smart and savvy and will look to other sources that either confirm or deny this report.(ks)
By Karen Shiebler:
For nearly 30 years, I was a licensed, certified speech/language pathologist. I spent hours analyzing the expressive language of my patients. I’m retired now, without a license, but I haven’t forgotten what I did every day.
I haven’t examined Donald Trump (R-N.Y.), but let me explain why I think Trump has either a language disorder, or another neurological problem.
The first thing I’ve noticed with Trump is that he tends to slightly misuse words. In speech/language pathology, this is a word finding issue. In the current speech, Trump began by calling the Convention as a beautiful event. He complimented the speakers, saying:
“So many of the speakers were so amazing and really ground setting. Just ground setting.”
Clearly he meant “ground breaking,” but he didn’t notice.
Later he said that former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) people “swamped” Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). He seemed to mean that they mistreated him, which isn’t what “swamped” means.
People with word finding deficits rely on words with little meaning. They use phrases like “by the way,” or “believe me.” They depend heavily on empty words like “really” and “very,” and use a restricted list of adjectives. Trump uses the words “tremendous,””amazing,” and “nice,” none of which tells us anything.
People with this disorder repeat themselves a lot.
A small sample from today:
“Thank you very much. We had an amazing convention. It was one of the best. […] Ivanka was incredible last night.[…] It has been just an incredible four days.[…] Tiffany was amazing.”
“So, I will tell you, I think we’re gonna get a lot of his voters. Because of the trade issue. Because they understand. Because of the trade issue, I think we’re gonna get a lot of his voters.”
To speech/language pathologists, this means expressing one thought. It means beginning a thought and getting to the end. Trump speaks in sentence fragments. He begins a thought, but drops it and simply jumps ahead.
“Honestly, he should have done it. Because….nobody cares. And he would have been in better shape for four years from now if he’s … I don’t think … I don’t see him winning frankly anyway.
Many people with this issue often have attentional issues. If you know anyone with ADHD you’ve experienced this problem.
Every phrase Trump utters reminds him of something else. He jumps off his current track and follows another.
Here just one example:
“If I don’t win, meaning that final stage, we beat 17 people, it was actually 17 because there’s one that we don’t even talk about, who joined who left very quickly. One statement, he was gone, OK? And then don’t forget, Hillary had a couple of guys that dropped out and then Bernie ran a good campaign…”
I’m not qualified to address whether Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, but I can address the circularity of his language. No matter what he starts with, Trump manages to turn the topic in two ways. He always brings it back to self-praise. Equally worrisome is that he also consistently turns it back to his rivals or perceived enemies.
“First of all the Secret Service is unbelievable.[…] Let me tell you, these guys are fantastic. I’m the best thing that ever happened to the Secret Service.”
“Thanks, Brian! What a job you’ve done, Brian! […] Hillary’s trying to pick her Vice President as fast as possible because she wants to take away some of the success we’ve had.”
Watch this video, and keep the language and attention issues in mind.
This is a scary situation.
The above image is a screen-shot of the video Ezra Klein leads with in the following article:
Tonight, Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States.
And I am, for the first time since I began covering American politics, genuinely afraid.
Donald Trump is not a man who should be president. This is not an ideological judgment. This is not something I would say about Mitt Romney or Marco Rubio. This is not a disagreement over Donald Trump’s tax plan or his climate policies. This is about Trump’s character, his temperament, his impulsiveness, his basic decency.
Back in February, I wrote that Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he’s a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he’s also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it’s hard to know if he even realizes he’s lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.
He has had plenty of time to prove me, and everyone else, wrong. But he hasn’t. He has not become more responsible or more sober, more decent or more generous, more considered or more informed, more careful or more kind. He has continued to retweet white supremacists, make racist comments, pick unnecessary fights, contradict himself on the stump, and show an almost gleeful disinterest in building a real campaign or learning about policy.
He has, instead, run a campaign based on stoking fear and playing to resentment. His speech tonight invoked a nightmarish American hellscape that doesn’t actually exist. His promise to restore order made him sound like the aspiring strongman his critics fear him to be. “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,” he said. “Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”
Here is what we know — truly know — about Trump. Here is why he should not be president.
Trump is vindictive. So far, the unifying theme of Trump’s convention is that the leader of the opposition party should be thrown in jail. Trump didn’t like the Washington Post’s coverage of his campaign, so he barred its reporters from his rallies and threatened to use the power of the presidency to bring an antitrust suit against the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos.
He was upset that Ohio didn’t vote for him, so he sat its delegation in the cheap seats, even though the state is hosting the convention. He was angry about an interview his ex-ghostwriter gave to the New Yorker, so he sent his lawyers after him. He hates the protesters who interrupt his campaigns, so he said he would look into paying the legal fees of a supporter who sucker-punched one of them.
Imagine Donald Trump with the powers of the presidency. Imagine what he could do — what he would do — to those who crossed him.
Trump is a bigot. Donald Trump kicked off his campaign calling Mexican immigrants murderers and rapists. He responded to Ted Cruz’s surge in Iowa by calling for a ban on Muslim travel. He sought to discredit a US-born judge by saying his rulings were suspect because of his “Mexican heritage.” Trump’s campaign is certainly the first time in my memory that a sitting speaker of the House has had to describe something his party’s nominee said as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
This is not a man who should be put in charge of an increasingly diverse country that needs to find allies in an increasingly diverse world.
Trump is a sexist. Stories of Trump’s casual sexism abound, but during the campaign, it was women who questioned him who felt the full force of his misogyny. The first Republican debate, for instance, was hosted by Fox News and moderated by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. Kelly wasn’t obviously tougher on Trump than her colleagues, but she was the antagonist he focused on, retweeting a follower who said she was “a bimbo” and saying she had “blood coming out of her … wherever.”
After Carly Fiorina challenged him in a debate, Trump said to Rolling Stone, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” After Hillary Clinton needed to take a bathroom break during a debate, Trump told the crowd, “It’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”
It’s not just during political campaigns that this side of Trump emerges. Trump once toldhis friend Philip Johnson that the secret to women was “[y]ou have to treat ’em like shit.”
Trump is a liar. Trump boasts constantly that he had the judgment and foresight to oppose the Iraq War. But he didn’t. On September 11, 2002, Trump was asked by Howard Stern whether he supported the invasion of Iraq. “Yeah, I guess so,” he replied. Trump has not sought to explain these comments or offer evidence of an alternative judgment he offered elsewhere. He just lies about this, and he does so often.
But that’s true for Trump across many issues. He says his health care plan will insure everyone, when it will do nothing of the kind. He says his tax plan raises taxes on the wealthy when it actually cuts them sharply. Trump has lied about his net worth, hisreasons for not releasing his tax returns, and his charitable donations. He lies easily, fluently, shamelessly, constantly.
Trump is a narcissist. Trump’s towering self-regard worked for him as a real estate developer. His real business was licensing his name out for building, menswear, golf courses, steaks. A bit of a narcissism is necessary to become a global brand. But the trait is maladaptive in a presidential candidate.
The most recent example was the 28 minutes he spent talking about himself when he was supposed to be introducing Mike Pence, his vice presidential candidate, for the first time. The most grotesque example was when he responded to the deadliest mass shooting in American history by tweeting, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
Trump admires authoritarian dictators for their authoritarianism. When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Trump about his affection for Vladimir Putin, who “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries,” Trump replied, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”
But it’s not just Putin. Trump has praised Saddam Hussein because “he killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights.” He said “you’ve got to give [Kim Jong Un] credit. He goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss. It’s incredible.” It’s not just that Trump admires these authoritarians; it’s that the thing he admires about them is their authoritarianism — their ability to dispense with niceties like a free press, due process, and political opposition.