US presidential election "Dictator for just one day": What Donald Trump is planning for a possible second term in office

The US is seriously discussing whether a second term in office for Donald Trump could lead the country into a dictatorship. He only wants to be an autocrat on the “first day”. A look at his plans shows that the fear is justified.

In 2015, they laughed when he suggested building a wall that Mexico should pay for. In 2016, they were speechless when he wanted to “beat the shit out of” demonstrators. And in 2017 they went to court because one of his first official acts was to ban Muslims from entering the country. The plans of former US President and soon-to-be presidential candidate Donald Trump were often bizarre, impulsive and irritatingly authoritarian – which hasn’t changed much in 2023. Except that he formulates it much more sharply.

Trump only wants to be dictator on day one

Not concealing any intentions was and is the recipe for success of this candidate for the White House. And they now sound like this: He doesn’t want to become a dictator, “except on the first day. We close the border and we drill, drill, drill for oil. After that, I’m not a dictator,” Trump just answered a corresponding question in one Discussion round. So this is what has come to this in the Land of the Free: The possibility of autocracy is not only being discussed, the would-be ruler himself is even openly flirting with it.

Already in his first election campaign in 2016, the presidential candidate irritated people by demanding that his then opponent Hillary Clinton be imprisoned for alleged email manipulation. “Lock her up” was the battle cry of his supporters. Eight years later, Trump is now poisoning much more aggressively: he will “exterminate” his opponents like vermin, he recently announced during an appearance in New Hampshire. He literally spoke of “communists, Marxists, fascists and radical left-wing thugs.”

Same expressions as in Nazi Germany

Joe Biden, Trump’s successor as US President and included in his tirade, immediately felt compelled to comment: “The same expressions are used here that were used in National Socialist Germany,” said Biden. Even if the comparison seems drastic at first, given Trump’s expressed desire for revenge and subversion, it seems to have at least some justification.

  • Already in the summer, Donald Trump announced that if he were re-elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor “to take care of the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family.” The ex-president feels personally persecuted by his successor and the US justice system. There are currently five cases pending against him.
  • In connection with the 2020 presidential election, he even called for the “revocation of the US Constitution” on his “Truth Social” channel. “A massive fraud of this nature and magnitude results in the repeal of all rules, regulations and articles, including those contained in the Constitution,” he wrote. To this day, Trump is of the opinion that his defeat almost three years ago was only possible through election fraud. There is no evidence of this.
  • Almost a classic in Trump’s political repertoire is his fight against (illegal) immigration. Building a wall on the Mexican border is almost proverbial. But in a second term he would probably go even further: Trump would even be prepared to deploy the US military to take action against Mexican drug cartels. However, this idea would violate international law unless the government in Mexico City gave the green light. What can be considered excluded.

  • Trump’s plan to deport immigrants who arrived illegally en masse is equally extreme. Millions of people could be affected – it would be an unprecedented event in the country’s history. The right to asylum would also be up for grabs, as would automatic US citizenship for newborn children of undocumented immigrants.
  • Trump confidants are said to be already planning a major all-out attack against the authorities in the background. According to the New York Times, the aim is for the US President to have direct access to management levels so that he can fill them with loyalists. The current government is currently trying to prevent such a cut in the executive branch through legislation.
  • Trump’s plan to abolish the partial independence of the Justice Department from the White House goes in a similar direction. Since the Watergate scandal, the federal agency has been a kind of hybrid entity: On the one hand, its leadership reports to the US President, but as the country’s top prosecutor, it is independent of the White House. Two of the five lawsuits against Trump were initiated by the US Department of Justice and its special counsel Jack Smith. As US President, he could then end the proceedings against him.

Donald Trump’s announcements and plans still sound like fantasies of omnipotence. Especially since he still has to win the coming election. And even after that, he probably won’t be able to switch gears straight away. Some of his projects would probably end up before the Supreme Court – where the conservative judges have the majority, three of whom Trump personally appointed.

Does Donald Trump rule with the stroke of a pen?

The instrument of executive decree is also actively used by almost all presidents. With the stroke of a pen, the head of state can order decrees without the consent of parliament. In his first days in office, Trump issued around 270 such orders – also to demonstrate leadership. The problem with the decrees: They can be withdrawn at any time by other government bodies if they want to and have doubts.

How far Trump’s powers will extend depends not least on the composition of the two chambers of parliament. If Trump’s Republicans win a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, he can rule as head of the White House. Presumably in this case there will hardly be anyone at the political level who will oppose the “dictator”.

Sources: “The Hill”, Fox News, “New York Times”, “Der Standard”, “De Moines Register”, DPA, AFP