In a Wednesday piece for The Washington Post, political commentator Justice Malala, who lived in South Africa before moving to the United States, argued that Donald Trump has sold America's values for his own personal gain — a decision he claims will empower tyrants around the world.
Malala pointed to Trump's decision to commute the sentence of longtime Republican Party operative Roger Stone and his alleged destruction and manipulation of the U.S.'s institutions.
"It is chilling not just for America but also for democrats in dangerous places across the globe," he wrote.
"Expect the worst of the world's autocrats to follow suit with similar outrages or to be emboldened to continue on the nefarious paths they are already on."Malala pointed to former South African President Jacob Zuma, who he said "systematically destroyed the country's institutions of accountability," replaced public servants with obsequious individuals to do his bidding, and engaged in nepotism when selecting others to run South Africa with him. He noted the fraud and corruption linked to Zuma when he gained power, as well as his weaponization of his country's institutions to help him and his allies avoid the repercussions of his actions.
"I never thought I would find myself writing that the United States is a country whose foundational values are in peril — and whose backward slide imperils democracies everywhere."
According to the political commentator, if America fails to uphold its values, other countries around the world that look to the U.S. for leadership will do the same. Notably, he claimed that the tactics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte were influenced by Trump.
"Trump's numerous egregious actions are a boon to autocrats everywhere," he concluded the piece, noting that democracy will "die across the globe" when the United States is undermined by its leader.
As noted by NPR, Trump has offered praise to various authoritarian rulers across the globe, including Duterte, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Per Business Insider, authoritarianism experts previously sounded the alarm on Trump and claimed that the window of opportunity to stop him is closing.
Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor who wrote How Fascism Works, called for mass protests and accused the Republican Party of "betraying" the nation's democratic systems. Stanley said that the creation of a one-party state is the "deeply worrying moment" and suggested that the GOP has shown no desire to uphold a multi-party democracy.
Democrat Stacey Abrams previously called Trump an authoritarian and called on the U.S. to remove him from power before it's too late.