John McCain read off a list of the names of dictators during Donald Trump’s inauguration, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar told a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally.
As Huffington Post reports, Klobuchar and her Senate colleague McCain were friends when the former Arizona Senator was alive, and as such, they sat next to each other during Donald Trump’s inauguration. McCain, says Klobuchar, took the opportunity to read off a list of the names of various dictators throughout history.
“John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation.”
McCain was imprisoned for years in a Vietnamese POW camp, where he was routinely tortured and starved.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, which names McCain supposedly read during the inauguration.
McCain is not the first person to compare Trump to historical dictators. As The New Yorker reported in 2016, well before Trump was even inaugurated, historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who had written a book on fascism, said that she saw much in common between Trump and Francisco Franco, the fascist dictator who ruled Spain with an iron fist between 1939 and his death in 1975.
“The actions taken by the Obama Administration threatened not just Donald Trump and his presidency but the very processes and protocols by which the peaceful transition of power has been effected in the United States.” -@rogerkimball https://t.co/CsbGFAYkwu— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) May 26, 2019
Both men, for example, cultivated a “cult of personality” around themselves, in particular, stirring up fervent enthusiasm for their “brand,” as Ben-Ghiat calls it, among their supporters. And both lived and died by the approval of the people. “They have this hunger for approval … They need the crowd to consolidate their personalities.”
By way of example, Ben-Ghiat posits that Donald Trump famously sniffed so loudly and so frequently during the debates because the crowd was silent and he felt alone and “defensive,” and was doing so subconsciously to “channel his nerves.”
Similarly, also in 2016 Ben-Ghiat compared Trump to Italy’s 20th-century dictator Benito Mussolini. Writing in The Atlantic, she noted that both men painted pictures of themselves as anti-establishment outsiders, tasked by fate with saving their countries from the evils of communism and socialism. “A mercurial hothead, Mussolini reveled in his role as a political disrupter,” she wrote.
As for Trump and McCain, the two men feuded during their the couple of years that they worked together, with Trump sparing no amount vitriol towards the Arizona Senator. For example, Trump attempted to belittle McCain’s service in the Vietnam War because McCain, a fighter pilot, had been shot down and captured. “I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.