Trump Says ‘Dictator’ Label Being Pushed On Him Is Latest ‘Hoax’ and ‘Democrat Misinformation’

Former President Donald Trump said attempts to paint him as a ‘dictator’ if elected in 2024 are just the latest ‘hoax’ and ’misinformation' pushed by foes.
Trump Says ‘Dictator’ Label Being Pushed On Him Is Latest ‘Hoax’ and ‘Democrat Misinformation’
Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally at Trendsetter Engineering Inc., in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 2, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

Former President Donald Trump said at a Republican event in New York on Saturday that a hoax is being revisited by his political rivals for the 2024 election cycle, namely the claim that he'll act as a “dictator” and undermine democracy if he wins the presidency.

In a speech at the New York Young Republican Club’s 111th Annual Gala on Dec. 9, President Trump dismissed warnings that his victory in next year’s presidential election represents a threat to democracy as a “hoax” and “Democrat misinformation.”

“Can you believe it? This is their new line, you know,” President Trump said. “Here we go again—‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ ‘Mueller, Mueller, Mueller,’ ‘Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine.’ One hoax after another,” he said.

“But no, I’m not a threat. I will save democracy. The threat is Crooked Joe Biden,” President Trump said, referring to the Democratic president. “And that’s what it is, it’s a hoax. We call it now the threat-to-democracy hoax, because that’s what it is.”

President Trump’s remarks follow an outpouring of news headlines in recent weeks playing up the idea that President Trump would run roughshod over democratic norms if elected in 2024 and would run the country like a “dictator.”

‘Dictator For One Day’

In his speech at the gala in New York, the 45th president addressed comments he made last week where he seemed to joke that he would not act as a dictator “except for day one” if he returns to office for a second term.

“[Peter] Baker today in The New York Times said that I want to be a dictator,” President Trump said at the event, referencing an article from the newspaper’s chief White House correspondent.

“I didn’t say that,“ President Trump continued. ”I said I want to be a dictator for one day. You know why I wanted to be a dictator? Because I want a wall, and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

President Trump has repeatedly said he sees the influx of illegal immigrants across the southern border as a national security crisis and a key issue, and has vowed to impose tough border security measures the moment he gets into office. He has also called President Joe Biden’s anti-fossil-fuel energy policies bad for the country and has vowed to abolish them and encourage more domestic oil and gas production.

His remarks about being a dictator for a day suggest that he is likely to issue a series of executive orders immediately upon assuming office, much like other presidents, such as President Biden’s day-one executive orders cancelling President Trump’s border wall construction and putting a freeze on the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Closing the Border and ‘Drilling, Drilling, Drilling’

Mr. Baker’s article came after the President Trump took part in a Fox News town hall with moderator Sean Hannity, who noted that “far-Left hacks and the media mob” have been issuing dire predictions that President Trump would become a “dictator” if elected president in 2024.

When Mr. Hannity asked President Trump to promise that he would “never abuse power” in such a way, the former president replied he wouldn’t—“except for day one.”

Asked by Mr. Hannity to explain, President Trump said he would take quick and decisive action on border security and domestic oil production.

“We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling,” President Trump said, adding with a wry smile, “After that, I’m not a dictator—okay?”

The audience responded with laughter and cheers, while President Joe Biden’s campaign posted a clip of  President Trump’s remarks, with the caption, “Trump: I will be a dictator on day one.”
Besides the Biden campaign amplifying the “dictator” claim, a number of media outlets have begun their latest round of alarmist pieces with a similar bent. For instance, The Washington Post ran an article on Dec. 4 headlined, “The Fear of a Looming Trump Dictatorship,” while Salon’s Dec. 5 piece was titled, “Americans are Sleepwalking into a Trump Dictatorship.”
During his speech at the New York Republican event, President Trump insisted his campaign is on a “righteous crusade” to rescue the country from a “very corrupt political class” and criticized the establishment media for “waging an all-out war on American democracy ... with one hoax, witch hunt, and abuse of power after another.”

He also mocked President Biden’s speech where the president said “MAGA extremists” needed to be stopped. MAGA is an acronym for “Make America Great Again,” which is President Trump’s campaign slogan.

“Yeah, I’m extreme about making America great again,” President Trump said.

“I’m running to liberate America,” President Trump said. “We want to liberate America, because we’re the country that’s in a lot of pain. ... This is a righteous crusade to rescue our nation from a very corrupt political class.”

Janice Hisle and Catherine Yang contributed to this report.