It was an interesting weekend for Donald Trump. He tiptoed around questions asking him to denounce the KKK and retweeted a quote from Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
It’s well known that Trump spends a lot of time on Twitter. The GOP presidential front-runner uses the social media platform to chat with followers, opponents, and the journalists covering his campaign.
And as Gawker put it, it’s also his preferred platform for “insult(ing) his enemies and opponents, but it’s also where he seeks evidence of his greatness, and regularly retweets praise for himself.”
According to the New York Times, Trump goes on “posting sprees” in the wee hours of the morning. And some of his retweets have raised eyebrows, like the posts from accounts linked to white nationalists.
In December, Gawker went on a sneaky mission, the site admitted in an article about the Donald’s retweet. They set up a parody account dedicated to the fascist leader in an attempt to entrap Trump.
And he fell for it. He retweeted the words of Mussolini at 6:13 a.m. Sunday morning.
Back in December, a staff member set up a Twitter bot designed to post quotes from the leader’s writings and speeches. The profile picture for the account is a mishmash of both men — Mussolini’s face and the Donald’s hair. The account name was @ilduce2016; Italians called him “Il Duce,” or “the leader.”
All of the tweets posted by this bot were attributed to Trump using his handle, and every post tweeted only at him — multiple times a day.
The motive was to show that the businessman and reality star would “retweet just about anything, no matter how dubious or vile the source, as long as it sounded like praise for himself.” The site didn’t actually think this set up would work, because the “joke behind the account was far too obvious, and wouldn’t trick anyone but a complete idiot.”
The setup was really a criticism of Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail about the use of power, the Times noted. Conservative critics have noted that some of this rhetoric toes the line into fascism. Gawker also asked whether the Donald is a fascist, noting that “experts, historians, and pundits” have been debating the question for months.
“One thing has been certain for a while now: He tweets like (a fascist).”
And he doesn’t seem too concerned about how retweeting Mussolini — or being fooled into doing so — appears to the public.
The candidate appeared on Meet the Press and discussed the social media snafu. Asked whether he knew who the quote belonged to, Trump said that he was fully aware before retweeting, CBS News reported.
And he couldn’t care less.
“It’s okay to — it’s a very good quote, it’s a very interesting quote, and I know it. I saw it. I saw what — and I know who said it. But what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else? It’s certainly a very interesting quote.”
And when asked if he’d like to be associated with Mussolini, the Donald replied, “No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.”
He added, “Hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?”
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported another of the candidate’s tweets, this one against one of his competitors. He attacked the Koch brothers for supporting “little Marco Rubio, the lightweight from Florida,” and pointed out that the Koch brothers’ business was in dire financial straits.
As for that pesky KKK slip-up, the candidate did eventually state that he disavowed grand wizard David Duke and the hate group, who’d express support for the GOP frontrunner, CNN added.
Donald Trump has 6.5 million followers on Twitter.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]