Trump Doesn’t Commit to Not Abusing Power as President

trump dictatorship hannity town hall

After declaring last week he’d swoop the blue states if Jesus himself “came down,” Donald Trump returned to Iowa for a town hall in Davenport hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity. During the sit-down, the former president evaded Hannity’s questions on whether he would abuse power if he were to be elected president for asecond term.

“Do you in any way, have any plans whatsoever if re-elected president to abuse power, to break the law, to use the government to go after people?” asked the host.

“In the history of our country, what’s happened to us, again, has never happened before. Over nonsense, over nothing — made up charges,” replied Trump, referencing his four indictments encompassing 91 felony counts. The former president continued to circumvent the question, and instead took the opportunity to compare himself to his favorite criminal: “I often say Al Capone, he was one of the greatest of all time if you like criminals. He was a mob boss the likes of which— ‘Scarface,’ they called him— and he got indicted once I got indicted four times.”

Later in the interview, Hannity gave Trump another chance to answer. “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” asked the host.

The former president replied, “Except for day one. I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

“We love this guy,” Trump said of Hannity. “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 we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.”

The GOP presidential front-runner has repeatedly vowed to take revenge on political rivals. Jonathan Swan of Axios reported in 2022 that the ex-president’s allies are planning to “radically reshape the federal government” if he wins, enacting an executive order known as “Schedule F” that would allow the Trump administration to purge the government and restock it with loyalists. In February, Trump claimed he wouldn’t use the White House to punish his enemies… while also saying it was his right to use the White House to punish his enemies. And in August, Rolling Stone reported that Trump’s inner circle is preparing to use a future administration to not only undo all of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s work — but to take vengeance on Smith, and on virtually everyone else, who investigated Trump during his time out of power.


On Tuesday, former Trump adviser Kash Patel, echoed these reports, saying that a new Trump administration would “come after the people in the media.” Patel is expected to serve in a senior national security role if Trump is elected.

Earlier this week, former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) warned that if Trump is elected president next year, he will try to remain in power beyond his second term. “There’s no question,” said Cheney on NBC’s Today show; when asked if he would try to stay in power forever, she added, “Absolutely. He’s already done it once.”

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