The Democratic lawmaker, who has endorsed Joe Biden for president, made the comments in response to questions about his recent CNN interview in which he compared the U.S. leader to Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
“Well, I think it’s real. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it,” Clyburn said.
The lawmaker also used his CNN interview to liken Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. While speaking to TMZ, the lawmaker noted Trump’s recent phone calls with Putin and the secrecy surrounding the content of the conversations. The 80-year-old politician then doubled down on his reference to the Axis alliance before speculating on Trump’s purported plan to stay in control of the White House.
“This guy really does not plan to go quietly if he is not re-elected, and if he is re-elected I don’t think he’d plan to go quietly because the Constitution dictates you can’t serve two terms,” he said.
“This guy intends to install himself under the emergency powers or whatever he can use to be president for life. He has said that jokingly, but he means that.”
The comments echo similar remarks the House Majority Whip made Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold onto office,” he said on the program.
The speculation came after the president’s recent tweet in which he suggested postponing the election until there are no concerns with the safety and security of the voting process.
Former Democratic Sen. Tim Wirth wrote in a Newsweek op-ed that Trump would attempt to suppress mail-in voting and purge voters from registration rolls in a strategy to stay in power. Wirth also claimed that the real estate mogul would try to limit physical polling locations to create longer lines and discourage Americans from heading to the ballot box. According to the former senator, if Trump loses, he will claim the election is rigged and use crisis powers to remain the leader of America.
Author Seth Abramson previously suggested that Trump will remain in power by undermining election results using his reach in the United States’ court and media apparatus. Abramson pointed to Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who claimed that he would not relinquish his power peacefully in the case of electoral defeat.