Former President Donald Trump is back to doing what he does best: making the media set its hair on fire and scream about everyone’s impending doom.
During a town hall event on Tuesday, host Sean Hannity said, “The media has been focused on this and attacking you. Under no circumstances — you are promising America tonight — you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody.”
“Except for day one,” Trump responded with a straight face. But he soon dropped the facade and took a joking tone as he pointed at Hannity and said, “Look, he’s going crazy.”
The Fox News host asked, “Meaning?”
“I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill, drill,” Trump explained.
When Hannity insisted those are not abuses of power, the former president said, “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 were drilling, drilling, drilling, after that I’m not a dictator.”
Watch the video below:
Hannity asks Trump for a second time if he has plans to abuse power. Trump admits he plans to do some dictatorial things on “day one” of his second term. pic.twitter.com/51b9I8bIJ7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 6, 2023
For a typical candidate, the answer would be a straight no.
But for Trump, that is too boring. He knows how to get attention and drive people into insanity, and he revels in it.
Shutting down the border and opening up drilling in the country are not abuses of power. And Trump knows that.
But with The Atlantic dedicating the entirety of its next issue to the “consequences” of a potential Trump term, filled with the same fear-mongering we’ve heard for years about autocracy or a column in The Washington Post about the “looming Trump dictatorship,” the media was primed to pounce on the former president’s comment.
The Associated Press ran with the headline, “Trump declines to rule out abusing power.” Meanwhile, Rolling Stone’s headline stated, “Trump to Hannity on Whether He’ll Abuse Power as President: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”
Of course, these headlines ignore the fact that we survived four years of Trump without him trying to become a dictator.
That does not mean he is not immune from wishing he did not have the constitutional limits on power that probably every president wishes did not exist.
But the claim he is going to usher in some dictatorship if he wins in 2024 is not backed up by the past — despite all the fearmongering — and there’s no evidence he would actually try to do so in another term.
Yet, that doesn’t mean he won’t have a little fun along the way by making the media go crazy and garner attention for him.