Trump’s Threat to Be a Dictator on ‘Day One’ of Presidency Is ‘Deadly Serious,’ Washington Post Editor Warns | Video

Phil Rucker tells MSNBC the former president “plans to exercise his power to the fullest” if reelected

Former president Donald Trump’s statement to Fox News anchor Sean Hannity that, if reelected in 2024, he will “be a dictator on day one,” is “a deadly serious comment,” Washington Post editor Phil Rucker said on Wednesday.

“I would take what Trump said there seriously,” Rucker told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell. “He, for months now, has been signaling the way he would use that power if he were to win a second term seeking retribution; using the Department of Justice to go against his political enemies and adversaries.”

MSNBC legal analyst Catherine Christian agreed that Trump’s comments are “frightening.”

“If you care about the rule of law, it’s frightening because remember: the president not only appoints the attorney general, the president appoints the 93 United States attorneys who are throughout the country in Puerto Rico and Guam.”

Trump sat down with Hannity in a Fox News town hall on Tuesday night. Hannity asked the ex-president, “[Do] you promise you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”

Trump responded, “Except for day one.” He added, “I love this guy. He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator are you?’ I say, ‘No, no, no. Other than day one.’”

Mitchell thought Hannity was trying to get Trump to refute claims made by former high-ranking GOP politician Liz Cheney, who recently said that the U.S. will be “sleepwalking into a dictatorship” if Trump is reelected.

Watch the exchange, which begins at the 7:10 mark, in the video above.

Kash Patel, an attorney and advisor to Trump, has promised similar retribution, including against the media. Speaking on “Bannon’s War Room” on Tuesday, Patel trotted out the familiar right-wing conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump.

“We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government, but in the media. Yes, we’re going to come after people in the media who … helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections. We’re going to come after you,” Patel said.

Recent Washington Post headlines, such as “A Trump Dictatorship Is Increasingly Inevitable. We Should Stop Pretending,” carry the same warning.

Earlier this month, fellow GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie added his voice to those opposing a second Trump term. “He acts like someone who doesn’t care about our democracy, acts like someone who wants to be a dictator. He acts like someone who doesn’t care for the Constitution,” he said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”


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