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Politico
POLITICO
16 Dec 2023
Kelly Garrity


NextImg:Trump quotes Putin in bid to portray Biden as authoritarian

DURHAM, New Hampshire — Donald Trump on Saturday turned to the words of an authoritarian in his latest effort to paint President Joe Biden as one.

“Even Vladimir Putin … says that Biden’s, and this is a quote, politically motivated persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy,” the former president told a packed stadium in New Hampshire.

Trump also basked in praise from Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister Viktor Orbán.

“Viktor Orbán, the highly respected prime minister of Hungary said Trump is the man who can save the western world,” Trump said. Later on he touted his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, “who is very nice.”

“He’s not so fond of this administration, but he’s fond of me,” Trump said.

During his time in the White House, Trump cozied up to authoritarian leaders like Putin and Kim, praising both at turns and infamously siding with the former over his own intelligence agencies on an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump’s comment earlier this month that he’d be a dictator only “on day one” raised eyebrows, and his increasingly heightened rhetoric has led critics to compare him to authoritarian leaders overseas. But after doubling down on the day-one remark to a room of supporters at a New York soiree, Trump took to Truth Social to claim it was a joke.

In New Hampshire, the crowd cheered as Trump railed against Biden, blaming the sitting president as he often does on the campaign trail for his many legal troubles.

“They [are] weaponizing law enforcement for high level election interference because we’re beating them so badly in the polls,” Trump said.

The former president is embroiled in legal cases in New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C., and is facing federal indictments for mishandling classified documents and over his alleged role in a plot to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to Biden.

But it hasn’t stymied his support, with polls showing a seemingly impenetrable lead over his remaining GOP primary challengers. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, Trump topped Biden by a 4 percent margin, the latest in a series of polls forecasting trouble for Biden.

The federal indictments were the culmination of investigations by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year to independently manage investigations and prosecutions related to Trump. Despites accusations from conservative politicians and pundits, Garland has emphasized that Biden has not played a role in Trump’s indictments.

But Trump continued his attack on Biden and Democrats unabated Saturday.

“Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it a badge of honor — because I am being indicted for you,” Trump said, prompting cheers of “We love you,” from his fans.