On Wednesday, CNN's Don Lemon and a panel of contributors lambasted President Donald Trump for his push to convert a Fourth of July celebration into an event honoring himself. And New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explained how it was yet another manifestation of Trump's just-below-the-surface desire to rule as a dictator.
"In your latest column, Frank Bruni, you write how he's even inserting himself in that holiday," said Lemon, referring to his recent article entitled "Donald Trump Is Not America." "And you write this, you say: 'He envies Orban, Putin and their ilk. They don't have to deal with so much disrespect and dissent. They just crush it. His designs on Independence Day call to mind those sorts of leaders: their vanities, shamelessness and equation of natural interests with self-interest.' Everything is about Trump."
"Everything is about Trump," agreed Bruni, "and most presidents see their role as lifting up the country. I think Donald Trump sees what he deserves as the country lifting up him."
"That's a partial list of the world leaders whom he perversely admires," Bruni continued. "He has praised and cozied up to the leader of North Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, people who have terrible human rights records. But what they have in common is the ability to decree adulation, to subvert the democratic process and to utterly crush dissent. He envies that."