Trump the Dictator

Richard C. Gross
7 min readNov 16, 2023

By Richard C. Gross

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

— Hebrews 16:13

Donald Trump and some of his closest advisers are creating an American dystopia headed by him as dictator and run by people strictly vetted for their loyalty to the former president.

They are openly advertising Trump’s authoritarian intentions if he is elected president next November. He has been doubling down on his irascible vitriolic language, referring to his critics and former supporters as “vermin” during a Veterans Day speech in Claremont, N.H. Saturday. That’s Nazi cursing, for sure. Tough if you don’t like it.

“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” he said.

Look who’s talking about lying and cheating. He faces a federal trial on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election that he said he won. He lied, as usual. That’s his modus operandi.

“They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and the American dream,” Trump said. . . . “The threat from outside sources is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within.”

That’s pure Nazi talk. Hitler spoke of the “threat from within,” referring to communists; he hated them. He broke the nonaggression pact with Stalin, signed in August 1939, and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, 22 months after he smashed into Poland, igniting World War II.

Hitler and Mussolini often used the word “vermin” to dehumanize and demonize their opponents. Trump, a walking, talking nightmare, is himself trying to destroy the American dream, sounding more like Hitler than the Italian dictator. He is said to have read Hitler’s Mein Kampf (My Life).

The White House, which doesn’t usually comment on Trump’s bombastic remarks, criticized his use of the word “vermin.”

“Using terms like that about dissent would be unrecognizable to our founders, but horrifyingly recognizable to American veterans who put on their country’s uniform in the 1940s,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Monday.

Trump as president once said he didn’t want to visit a cemetery near Paris because Americans who fought and died during World War I were “suckers” and “losers,” according to his then-chief of staff, Gen. John F. Kelly.

“The role of the government in his view is to advance his political fortunes and destroy his . . . enemies,” Rep. Jamie Raskin D-Md, said Sunday on MSNBC. He was the lead manager for Trump’s second House impeachment Jan. 31, 2021 for inciting insurrection at the Capitol Jan. 6 that year.

“It would look a lot like Vladimir Putin Russia,” he said. “It would look a lot like Viktor Orbán in Hungary — illiberal democracy, meaning democracy without rights or liberties or respect for the due process system, the rule of law.”

The outlines of a perceived Trump administration have appeared during the first of four trials against the former president, who is facing 91 felony counts against him. One judge in a current New York state civil trial accusing him of fraud has fined him $15,000 for twice violating a narrow gag order. Typical Trump.

He asked a federal judge overseeing his forthcoming trial on allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election to broadcast the proceedings. Of course, he has. He wants more publicity for his narcissistic, ego-flaunting, lying self so he can air to a wide audience his phony perceptions of being victimized. Sick.

Two major topics have been singled out by Trump and his acolytes planning for 2025 and beyond: Revenge, in line with the “retribution” he expects to exact on his enemies and severely restricting immigration if his extremist government ever should reawaken, like Frankenstein’s monster.

An immediate priority, according to The Washington Post, would be drafting executive orders to invoke the 1871 Insurrection Act, which could be used to deploy active-duty military to control unrest. Trump wanted to do that after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and regretted he never did, the newspaper said.

If the vindictive former president has an enemies list, it assuredly includes people who worked for him who, after they were fired or resigned, turned against him. He has told advisers and friends he wants the Justice Department to investigate former attorney general William P. Barr, Kelly and former Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Post reported.

“There is no question in my mind he is going to go after people that have turned on him,” the paper quoted Kelly as saying.

Further, the it said, Trump wants to “go after” President Joe Biden and his family, accusing them of corruption without, as is customary with him, providing evidence to back up his phony claims. He often accuses his detractors of manufacturing the federal indictments against him to hurt him politically since he is running again for president. More bull.

Ty Cobb, Trump’s onetime lawyer whom he might pursue if he returns to office, told the Post that “Trump himself is more likely to rot in jail than anyone on his alleged list.” He accused Trump of “stifling truth, making threats and bullying weaklings into doing his biddings.”

Talk about people, Trump just shrugs them off as if they were dead. Hundreds of thousands of them are struggling to immigrate to America, including asylum seekers from countries where violence and extreme poverty are a routine part of life, like going to buy groceries. Trump wants to kick them down the road like empty cans.

His grandparents were immigrants from Germany. His mother emigrated from Scotland and his third wife, Melania, immigrated from Slovenia, as did her parents. His first wife, Ivana, was born in what is now the Czech Republic.

On immigration, Trump, if elected a second time, plans to curb legal and illegal immigrants, to bar those from countries with a Muslim majority, to refuse asylum based on his view that migrants carry diseases and to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, according to an extensive report Saturday by The New York Times.

He wants to build “huge camps” to hold those rounded up while they wait to be processed for deportation flights. All of this would be paid for by the Pentagon if Congress fails to approve the program, the paper wrote.

It stinks of the internment camps that didn’t accommodate Japanese-Americans during World War II; they were evicted from their homes and put in desert shacks.

Trump’s unorthodox war on undocumented immigrants is criminal and certainly would be challenged in court. Problem: Trump appointed many right-wingers to courts nationwide, creating a 6–3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Good luck to immigration advocates.

Trump wants to use other federal agents to help those from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, local police and National Guard volunteers from red states to carry out “sweeping raids” to round up individuals and families, the Times said. Some of these people have lived here for decades.

“Any activists who doubt President Trump’s resolve in the slightest are making a drastic error: Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown,” Stephen Miller, the Trump aide who orchestrated the draconian immigration policies during the former president’s first term, told the Times. He again would be a major Trump adviser.

“The immigration legal activists won’t know what’s happening,” he said.

Trump would try again to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the paper quoted Miller. The previous Supreme Court with its 5–4 majority blocked the first attempt.

Trump’s antagonism toward would-be migrants echoes the attitude of dictator types in the former Soviet bloc. He told a right-wing website, again without evidence, that foreign leaders were dumping patients from “insane asylums” at our southern border, the Times reported.

He said migrants were “poisoning the blood of our country,” the paper said. The phrase is right out of Hitler,

“Mass deportation,” Miller said in a Times interview, “will be a labor-market disruption celebrated by American workers, who will now be offered higher wages with better benefits to fill these jobs.”

Dream on. Americans generally don’t want menial jobs like picking strawberries in hot farmlands; those jobs are wide open for foreign workers. Just ask the farmers.

Common sense, an education, intuition and life’s experience says this behavior, along with everything else negative we’ve digested about Trump, points to something odd going on, removed from the common description of him as “unhinged” or “deranged.”

Adults with major responsibilities, especially in public positions, just don’t behave this way, period, full stop. There’s a country of 330 million souls to run. Just look at the craziness of the bizarre, Republican-run House, the Trumpist-run House. They’re making a mockery of one of three branches of government.

We lived through four years of a chaotic, mind-twisting Trump presidency in which controversy on different topics surfaced nearly daily. There was no peace, either at home or when he traveled abroad and frightened U.S. allies into thinking they no longer could trust our country. Do we want this again?

Trump fired people left and right. He played with people’s lives, throwing them around like rag dolls. Do we want someone with this carefree attitude toward others again? This isn’t a fake reality show; it’s real life.

If Trump gets elected again, we’re going to be in such dire straits as a country, as a democracy, as a home for freedom that we may as well disassemble the Statue of Liberty and put that magnificent gift given to us from France on July 4, 1884 into storage. It’s a symbol for us of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, the French motto, and hope for immigrants.

Trump only is a symbol of hate, bitterness and vindictiveness, out to destroy who we are and what we represent to the world. We as a people don’t deserve that and shouldn’t encourage him.

A vote for Trump would be like voting for Putin. Forget democracy. Forget freedom. Forget the openness of a country that lets you be you.

Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East, was a Pentagon reporter for seven years, was foreign editor of United Press International and was the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.

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Richard C. Gross

Correspondent, bureau chief and foreign editor at home and abroad with United Press International. Retired as opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.