Republican polling leader Donald Trump approvingly quoted autocrats Vladimir Putin of Russia and Viktor Orban of Hungary, part of an ongoing effort to deflect from his criminal prosecutions and spin alarms about eroding democracy against President Biden.
His speech at a presidential campaign rally here on Saturday also reprised dehumanizing language targeting immigrants that historians have likened to past authoritarians, including a reference that some civil rights advocates and experts in extremism have compared to Adolf Hitler’s fixation on blood purity.
And he used the term “hostages” to describe people charged with violent crimes in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.
The comments came as experts, historians and political opponents have voiced growing alarm about Trump’s rhetoric, ideas and emerging plans for a second term, pointing to parallels to past and present authoritarian leaders.
“Donald Trump sees American democracy as a sham and he wants to convince his followers to see it that way too,” said Jennifer Mercieca, a professor at Texas A&M University who researches democracy and rhetoric. “Putin hates western values like democracy and the rule of law, so does Trump.” [Continue reading…]