Donald Trump may not have the power of brutal dictators like Kim Jong-Un, but a source once very close to the president believes Trump would rule just as violently — if he could.
Tony Schwartz, who served as the ghostwriter for Trump’s best-selling book Art of the Deal, said in an interview on MSNBC that Trump would “murder as many enemies as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un” if he were able to seize that level of power. As Newsweek noted, Schwartz suggested that Trump had both the aspiration and the “inner sense of emptiness” needed to become a dictator.
Trump has recently been full of praise for Kim’s autocratic rule over North Korea, saying he admired how the people of that country were in almost reverence of him.
“I mean he’s the strong head, don’t let anyone think anything different,” Trump said in an appearance on Fox & Friends. “He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”
Donald Trump has frequently praised other brutal dictators as well. He previously had high praise for Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines who has led a brutal crackdown on drug users that includes extrajudicial killings. Duterte had previously bragged about leading death squads that killed criminals as a mayor in Davao City in the Philippines.
As The Huffington Post noted, Trump also called Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi a “fantastic guy” approved of how he “took control” during a 2013 coup that left thousands of protesters dead. Trump has also expressed his admiration for Vladimir Putin and his harsh rule over Russia, comparing the Russian president to Barack Obama in commenting on what he believed was Obama’s weakness.
Tony Schwartz has been a frequent critic of Donald Trump, calling him self-possessed and lacking in the attention span or intellectual curiosity to succeed as president. Schwartz was frequently predicted that Donald Trump will resign from office if the pressure gets too great, trying to paint his exit as some kind of a “win.”
“The circle is closing at blinding speed,” Schwartz tweeted last year. “Trump is going to resign and declare victory before Mueller and congress leave him no choice.”
Donald Trump has not shied away from sharing his newfound admiration for Kim Jong-Un after months of tweeting insults at the North Korean leader, saying that he now has a dedicated phone line for Kim to call whenever he needs to talk.