White House warns of democracy threat after Trump repeats dictator remark

White House warns of democracy threat after Trump repeats dictator remark

White House warns of democracy threat after Trump repeats dictator remark By Reuters

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Published Dec 11, 2023 01:40PM ET
Updated Dec 11, 2023 01:45PM ET

© Reuters. An American Flag on the U.S. Capitol Building is seen in Washington, U.S., August 31, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Wurm/ File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has been working to guard against the “unprecedented threats” facing American democracy, a White House official said on Monday, responding to Donald Trump’s comments that he wanted to be a “dictator for one day” if elected to a second term.

During a speech on Saturday, Trump repeated a statement he made during a Fox News town hall last week that he did not intend to become a dictator if he wins the presidency again except “on day one”.

“I said I want to be a dictator for one day,” Trump told the New York Young Republican Club annual gala. “And you know why I wanted to be a dictator? Because I want a wall, right? I want a wall and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

His comments were nearly identical to those he made in the Fox town hall and prompted chants of “Build the Wall” from the gala crowd.

When asked about Trump’s comments, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Biden “has been working to protect American democracy and to unite people of all political views against these unprecedented threats” without mentioning Trump by name.

Trump, the Republican frontrunner headed for a likely election re-match with Biden in 2024, has frequently promised “retribution” against political opponents if he gains power again. He has also called for the “termination” of parts of the Constitution over his false claims that his loss to Biden in the 2020 election was due to massive voter fraud.

“And I want to say it is wrong to suspend the Constitution and abuse federal power to persecute critics and trample the First Amendment,” Bates added while speaking on Air Force One as Biden flew to Philadelphia.

For 2024 US election stories, results and data: https://www.reuters.com/topic/event/us-elections/

(reporting by Steve Holland aboard Air Force One and Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

White House warns of democracy threat after Trump repeats dictator remark

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