A foreign politics expert warned that President Donald Trump’s actions are similar to the beginnings of authoritarian regimes overseas in an appearance on MSNBC Thursday.
Brian Klaas, an expert on global democracy and political violence at the London School of Economics, said on “Morning Joe” that Americans should be worried about Trump’s “instability” and disregard for institutions and the law.
Klaas began by comparing Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, noting that both are “unstable,” “reckless,” and “are very prone to being defensive when it comes to their egos.”
“You wrote a book about authoritarianism on the rise across the world,” host Joe Scarborough said. “Take what’s happened the last 48 hours. Do you sense a quickening of the pace of this president’s autocratic tendencies?”
“Absolutely, and I’m really worried about it,” Klaas replied. “Despots have a classic aspect of divide and rule. Demonizing and scapegoating minorities. Retweeting a Britain First account linked to neo-Nazis and provoke a spat with our allies. You have demonization of the press and also attacking CNN, saying we should boycott them. There are constant ethics violations, violations of the Hatch Act.”
“There’s a constant Orwellian nature to this where Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it doesn’t matter if it’s true, what’s true is what the president says,” Klaas said. “These things are happening on a daily basis. What I’ve been trying to say for a long time is, this is not a drill.”
“This is not the thing where we move on to the next story tomorrow,” he continued. “This is a threat to our democracy and to the core values we stand for. Are we bigots who just smear Muslims and say that they’re hateful, anti-Christian criminals, and then just move on to the next piece of breaking news? No, we’re not.”
“People need to draw a line in the sand, because if we don’t draw it there, where do we draw it?” he added.
“There are a lot of people that say this is how it begins,” co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed. “I am there completely.”
Earlier in the show, Scarborough revealed that people close to Trump on the campaign told him that he had “early stages of dementia.”
“People close to him say he is mentally unfit, people close to him during the campaign told me he had early stages of dementia,” Scarborough said. “Now, listen, you can get mad at me. When are we supposed to say this? After the first nuclear missile goes? Is that when it’s proper to bring this up in polite society? Tell me.”
“He is completely detached from reality,” Scarborough said. “We had a New York Times and Washington Post piece saying so a couple of days ago. The question is, if this is not what the 25th Amendment was drafted for — I would like the Cabinet members serving America, not the president, serving America.”