Donald Trump: I’m OK With Using a Mussolini Quote
Donald Trump: I’m OK With Using a Mussolini Quote

Last year, Gawker media created a project aimed at tricking Donald Trump into re-tweeting, or quoting, a quote by Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist, on his social media account. 

Gawker said they “set a trap” for Trump in 2015, programming a bot that tweets Mussolini quotes at Trump’s Twitter account, but mislabeled them as quotes from Trump instead of from Mussolini. After more than 1,900 attempts, they finally received a re-tweet from Trump. 

The quote “it is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep” is one of the most popular sayings attributed to Mussolini that has survived. Although Trump’s Twitter account is operated by his staff, he didn’t condemn or say that he was going to delete the quote. 

It’s a very good quote. It’s a very interesting quote…What difference does it make, whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else?
— Donald Trump

“It’s OK to know it was Mussolini, Mussolini is Mussolini,” Trump said when questioned about the quote. “It’s a very good quote. It’s a very interesting quote…What difference does it make, whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else? It’s certainly a very interesting quote.” 

The interviewer pressed on, interrogating whether Trump wanted to associated “with a fascist.” 

“No,” Trump said. “I want to be associated with interesting quotes…You know, I have almost 14 million followers between Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We do interesting things, and I sent it out, and certainly it got your attention didn’t it?” 

Ultimately, both Trump and his critics were mistaken, because the quote did not originate from Mussolini. “E’ meglio vivere un giorno da leone che cent’anni da pecora,” had become a popular Italian saying after WWI to commemorate the Battle of the Piave River, a decisive Italian victory in 1918.

Schindler is a military historian and former professor at the Naval War College, who has written a book on Italy’s contribution to defeating Germany in World War 1. 

Some sources say that the quote was coined by Ignazio Pisciotta, a WWI Italian sharpshooter and sculptor, according to the Italian newspaper Socolo, but it later became associated with Mussolini, who had used it. 

× close
Top