Donald Trump used his latest MAGA rally in South Carolina last night to propose a radical expansion of presidential power if he somehow manages to escape prosecution for the many alleged crimes of his time in the White House and return to office in 2024.
Explaining the actions he would take if he wins back the presidency in 2024 — a contest that he all but confirmed that he would be running in — Trump claimed that as president for a second time, he would push to give the office powers that far exceed the limits of executive powers as delineated in the U.S. Constitution, demolishing the concepts of the civil service and meritocracy in the process.
“We will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States. The deep state must and will be brought to heel,” Trump declared to the freezing crowd of supporters in Florence, South Carolina.
The statement was the most explicit evidence of Trump’s desire to transform America from a participatory democracy into an authoritarian state modeled on the autocracies of dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
"We will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States. The deep state must and will be brought to heel." — Trump proposes a drastic expansion of presidential power pic.twitter.com/u09FV910iA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 13, 2022
Trump’s announcement of his proposed extreme power grab garnered an immediate revulsion from his critics on social media.
Law professor and NBC News legal analyst Joyce Alene found Trump’s dictatorial promise extremely self-serving on his part.
What better way to get rid of all those pesky career employees at DOJ who insisted on following the rules & protested & resigned when Barr meddled in cases for Trump buddies Flynn & Stone, or prioritized election investigations that could've interfered in the outcome of in 2020? https://t.co/4hPqynTfXh
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) March 13, 2022
Authoritarian expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat parsed Trump’s rhetoric as “tyrant talk.”
"brought to heel"=tyrant talk https://t.co/T6t5USMblm
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) March 13, 2022
Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf encouraged his followers to take Trump’s threats seriously.
When a man tells you he wants to become a dictator, believe him. https://t.co/yB5aZT5H8M
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) March 13, 2022
New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman reminded people that Trump had already unsuccessfully tried a similar scheme during his first term.
An effort to convert civil jobs to political appointments months before Election Day was abandoning in 2020. https://t.co/5j0WYUJMLK
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 13, 2022
Walter Shaub, the former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, pointed out that what Trump was proposing was common practice in the 1800s in this country and was prohibited because of the corruption it engendered.
There were many more equally horrified responses posted in reaction to Trump’s dictatorial promise.
Trump’s embrace of autocracy is now open and enthusiastic. (And of course “every executive branch employee” includes law enforcement and the military.)
But Mitch and Bill Barr and Christie and almost every Republican in Congress will support Trump if he’s the nominee in 2024. https://t.co/QbqR6LXdVe
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 13, 2022
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 13, 2022
Suffice it to say that the audience at Trump’s rally ate his words up like they were mana from heaven.
Never has such a large percentage of the American population expressed such support for such a transparent advocate for fascist rule in this country.
All the more reason that the Department of Justice must indict Donald Trump for his well-documented crimes while in office and send him to prison before he can run for a second term in 2024.
Original reporting by Aaron Rupar at Public Notice.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.