Donald Trump Is Putting America On ‘The Trail Toward A Dictatorship,’ Ex-Defense Secretary Says

U.S. President Donald Trump awaits the arrival of Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to the White House August 28, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen appeared on CNN Friday morning and took aim at President Donald Trump following his use of the military against anti-police brutality protesters, Raw Story reported.

The appearance began with CNN host Jim Sciutto pressing Cohen about Trump’s dismissal of the peaceful protesters and liberal use of the “terrorist” label.

“It means that he has no understanding of what the rule of law really means in this country,” he said. “He has declared he wants to be the ‘president of law and order,’ but that’s not what the declaration of this country is.”

Cohen claimed that American citizens expect justice from the U.S. government in addition to law and order and suggested Trump does not understand this dynamic.

“I remember a professor of mine saying liberty without order is a mess, but order without liberty is a menace. What I see taking place is the White House engaging in a very menacing activity and leading us down the trail toward a dictatorship where it is only the law of rule, not the rule of law.”

Trump’s recent show of force amid the George Floyd protests has prompted many to sound the alarm on America’s purported slide into authoritarian governance. In a piece for The Intercept, James Risen called on voters from both sides of the political spectrum to acknowledge the danger of Trump. He argued that denial is the foundation for dictatorships, which he says are established gradually. According to Risen, the current American moment makes it “impossible” to not see the president as a “psychopath” whose end-goal is to have absolute authority.

Risen noted that before Adolf Hitler came to power, the German Communist Party and the German Social Democratic battled it out with no regard for the unforeseen threat of the Nazi Party. Risen used the scenario to call on Americans on the left of the political spectrum to understand Trump’s threat instead of focusing on using him as a means of destroying the status quo of the current Democratic Party.

In a piece for The Conversation, political science professor Laura R. Olson argued that Trump’s photo op with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church is an example of the president drawing from the strategies employed by the world’s authoritarian-leaning leaders. In particular, Olson contrasted Trump’s purported coopting of religion for political purposes with President Vladimir Putin’s alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s embrace of Hindu nationalism.