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How Donald Trump resembles five strongmen not named Putin

Trump shares policy, hobbies, and past careers on TV with the likes of Idi Amin, Hugo Chávez, Pol Pot, Muammar Gaddafi, and Adolf Hitler


 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is greeted by supporters on his way to the airport to travel to Cuba, on Feb. 24, 2012. (Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is greeted by supporters on his way to the airport to travel to Cuba, on Feb. 24, 2012. (Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s bromance with Vladimir Putin seems more intense than ever. This week, the Republican nominee went on U.S. television and praised the Russian autocrat for his “strong control” of his country, and being a leader “far more than our president.” Then, in the face of criticism from Hillary Clinton—and senior members of his own party—Trump gave an interview to a Russian propaganda channel and doubled down, expressing doubts about an investigation that concluded Kremlin-backed hackers have been targeting Democratic Party computers and leaking embarrassing information in an effort to influence the upcoming election. “I think it is probably unlikely. I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows?” Trump told RT America‘s Larry King.

As Maclean’s first noted last winter, Trump and Putin are eerily similar, appealing to the same type of hard nationalists, sharing a fondness for tough-guy policy prescriptions, and not bothering to hide their disdain for all critics. But linking the orange-hued New York billionaire to despots and dictators has since become something of a parlour game for the world’s press. Here are five other horrible people that Trump seems to have something in common with.

Idi Amin: The late Ugandan dictator, mass-murderer and purported cannibal, was both media-savvy and impressively boastful. It was late-night TV comedian Trevor Noah who noticed the parallels between Trump and Amin’s not-so-humble-brags, splicing together a series of like-minded quotes on money, brains and popularity.

Hugo Chávez: The Venezuelan strongman, who died in 2013, loved self-aggrandizing rallies, Twitter beefs, and had his own TV show, Aló Presidente, where he delighted in firing people. There was even one episode, as witnessed by a Guardian reporter, where Chavez, like Trump, bragged about his outsized anatomy.

Pol Pot: Trump’s plan to remove the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States would be the world’s largest forced migration since the Cambodian genocide, a fact noted by the Washington Post, whose reporters were later banned from all Trump campaign events.

Moammar Gaddafi: Trump has praised the late Libyan dictator for being tough on terrorists, and once rented him the lawn of his suburban New York estate so Gaddafi could set up a traditional Bedouin-style tent while attending the UN General Assembly. Both men shared a long history of surrounding themselves with young women for photo-ops—female bodyguards in Gaddafi’s case, and beauty contestants for Trump.

Adolf Hitler: Godwin’s law dictates that this comparison is as inevitable as it is ubiquitous. But there has been serious academic debate about whether Trump should be labelled a fascist. In a 1990 article about his divorce from wife No. 1, Ivana Trump, Vanity Fair reported that the real estate developer kept a book of speeches by the Nazi dictator by his bedside. Trump denies this claim—he says it was a copy of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf.


 

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