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‘He’s auditioning to be a dictator’: CNN panel erupts over Trump’s targeting of individual Americans

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Part of being president is taking criticism from all sides about everything you do — but President-elect Donald Trump can’t seem to let any slight go, whether it comes from Barack Obama or Alec Baldwin.

Trump is drawing harsh criticism for his decision on Wednesday night to personally attack Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers 1999, after the union boss pointed out that Trump didn’t tell the truth about the number of jobs he had help save at the Carrier plant in Indiana. Shortly after Trump’s attack on Twitter, Jones began receiving death threats that targeted his children.

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Appearing as a panelist on Carol Costello’s CNN show Thursday, political science professor Jason Johnson pointed out that targeting individual citizens for harassment is something that dictators regularly do to assert power.

“He’s basically auditioning to be a dictator,” Johnson said of Trump’s behavior. “Dictators bully people, dictators use that kind of arbitrary power… and I think it should concern any American, whether they’re a Republican or Democrat.”

Fellow panelist Ron Browenstein didn’t go that far, although he did acknowledge that Trump’s behavior both before and since the election have raised all kinds of red flags for people who are worried about the future of dissent in this country.

“I can see why people would feel this is kind of a road toward… rejecting the voice of pluralism, and legitimate voices of dissent,” he said. “I would not go that far, but I do think people ought to be concerned about what the implications of this may be.

Specifically, he said that Trump should not appear as though he wants to scare people away from dissenting, especially when the country is so bitterly divided.

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“Donald Trump won the election fair and square, and he won the Electoral College, but the fact is that he’s going to lose the popular vote by more than anyone who has ever taken office before,” he said. “Is his goal to persuade, and kind of include, those Americans [who didn’t vote for him] or is it really to kind of intimidate them into being quiet?”

Watch the whole segment below.

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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