“Trump declines to rule out abusing power to seek retribution if he returns to the White House”


Former President Donald Trump declined to rule out abusing power if he returns to the White House after Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity asked him Tuesday to respond to growing Democratic criticism of his rhetoric.

The GOP presidential front-runner has talked about targeting his rivals — referring to them as “vermin” — and vowed to seek retribution if he wins a second term for what he argues are politically motivated prosecutions against him. As Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary, President Joe Biden has stepped up his own warnings, contending Trump is “ determined to destroy American democracy.”

“Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Hannity asked Trump in the interview taped in Davenport, Iowa.

“Except for day one,” Trump responded. “I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

Trump then repeated his assertion. “I love this guy,” he said of the Fox News host. “He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said: ‘No, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.’”

Earlier in the interview, Hannity had asked Trump if he “in any way” had “any plans whatsoever, if reelected president, to abuse power, to break the law to use the government to go after people.”

“You mean like they’re using right now?” Trump replied….

The Atlantic, “Trump Says He’ll Be a Dictator on Day One:”

Predicting the apologetics that anti-anti-Trumpers will employ here isn’t too hard. They’ll insist that this is just rhetorical flourish. They’ll say it’s fine, because he’s promising to limit his self-acknowledged abuse of powers to the noble causes of energy independence and border security. They’ve been using these excuses for years now.

But the people to heed here are Trump and his close allies, who are deliberately employing inflammatory rhetoric. In the same interview, Hannity gave the former president another chance to make a simple, bland statement of respect for laws, and Trump refused. (This is not the first time Hannity has tried to toss Trump a life buoy, only for Trump to fling it away with glee.)

“Do you in any way have any plans whatsoever, if reelected president, to abuse power? To break the law? To use the government to go after people?” Hannity asked. Trump’s response: “You mean like they’re using right now?”

The turnabout onto President Biden is dubious but typical. What’s missing is the easy addendum: And of course I reject these excesses and will get the country back on track. The problem is that everyone knows the former president would abuse his power, even the anti-anti-Trump apologists. And for his diehard supporters, that’s the real sell this time around. He is promising them that he’ll throw out the rulebook and exact revenge on his opponents.

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