Donald Trump has many characteristics of a dictator.
Two of his best friends are dictators: When Vladimir Putin tells him something, he believes it, and Kim Jong Un writes him love letters. He has suggested, somewhat in jest, serving more than eight years. He likes the idea of Xi Jinping, China's leader, having a lifetime appointment.
Trump is narcissistic. How many times has he said, "I know more about ISIS than my generals" or "I know more about technology than anyone," or "I am the greatest so and so ..."? As a narcissist, he considers himself superior to others. He tees off first, drives his cart onto the greens and decides his own score for the round. Did you see him push a world leader aside so he could step in front of him?
Trump is an isolationist, a protectionist and a nationalist. He doesn't want binding agreements with other nations. He canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris accords, and the Iran nuclear agreement, and also limited immigration. He uses tariffs to protect our industries and national security to the extreme. He isn't interested in being part of the world community; he is fine with us as a nation standing alone.
He seems to have no respect for our laws or norms. If it benefits him, he will violate either or both.
I believe Trump is a sociopath. He uses people for his own benefit and feels no remorse. He is rich, which gives him the means to do things others can't afford to do. Wealth alone gains him admiration and support from some.
He has appointed a record number of judges who agree with his thinking, and who defend him in the court of opinion. They are young judges with lifetime appointments that can serve 30-40 years. They were appointed not for their experience/expertise, but because they are young and share his position on judicial matters. He can be assured of judicial support.
In other words, he can do what he damn well pleases and know that his judges will not hold him accountable.
The U.S. attorney general, who acts like his personal attorney, seems to give him unconditional support and holds that the president is above the law. He cannot be investigated, charged or tried in a court of law. Those around him supposedly have the same immunity from the law.
He has the majority on the Supreme Court, which means the highest court in the land can legitimize his behavior and agree with how he chooses to run the government.
He no longer holds actual press conferences. That keeps people ignorant and makes it easier to do the things he doesn't want people to know about. He only wants "yes" men because he tolerates no disagreement. He had some of the most capable people on his staff and fired them--not because they couldn't do the job, but because he didn't like them.
He holds meetings with foreign leaders and provides no information on them to the people or press. Much of his schedule is blocked out as executive time--no meetings or events scheduled. At last count, it appears he plays golf at least once every four days.
In summary, it seems the district courts, courts of appeals, the Supreme Court, the attorney general of the United States, the Department of Justice, one house of Congress, Cabinet secretaries and about 40 percent of the people are in agreement with his dictatorial behavior. He has strong support of one major media outlet, Fox News, and equally strong support of conservative talk radio figures such as Rush Limbaugh. White supremacist groups are more aligned with Trump's thinking than with any other political party.
As a dictator, Trump would likely be considered a fascist. Madeleine Albright, past secretary of State, was one of the first to call him a fascist. A good definition of a fascist is a leader who works loosely within the framework of the government, but entirely for his own benefit and the way he wants the government to be. Benito Mussolini, Italy's leader in World War II, was a good example of a fascist.
Trump is not a dictator yet. He just acts like one.
Waymond Teague lives in Greenbrier.
Editorial on 01/06/2020