In the closed-door remarks, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump also praised China’s President Xi Jinping for recently consolidating power and extending his potential tenure, musing he wouldn’t mind making such a maneuver himself.
“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
I could spend another 1,000 words bringing up Trump’s close connection with Vladimir Putin, his buddy-buddy routine with the Philippines’ Duterte, his bromance with Turkey’s Erdogan, but it would be overkill. Trump has never met a dictator he didn’t like, and disrespects every democratic norm. Even his stylistic tastes are grotesque dictator-chic.
We know what Trump is, has always been and aspires to be. Even gun owners got a taste of it: seize authoritarian control, and figure out due process later. Execute the (innocent) Central Park Five, death penalty for drug dealers, Lock Her Up.
And we’ve still got three years to go. Buckle up, America. The Trump Administration could well end in a chaotic death spiral. But things could also get much, much worse. The President is a bad person, and he wants very bad things.
David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.