Authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat warned Wednesday that Donald Trump really means business when he talks about wiping out and then politicizing the civil service and taking control of every aspect of government if he wins back the White House in 2024.
“No one is ever prepared for an authoritarian takeover of their country,” Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University and author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present,” told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi.
“They think they will be the exception. They don’t listen to the warning signs until it’s too late,” she continued.
But Trump is actually “very clear” with what he’s saying, Ben-Ghiat said.
Last week, a New York Times article Trump said Trump will seek to extend the president’s authority “over any portion of the federal government that now, whether by law or tradition, operates with a measure of independence from White House political interference.”
Ben-Ghiat warned: “Authoritarians always tell you what they’re going to do as a kind of challenge and warning, and people don’t listen until it’s too late.”
If Trump wins the election again, he will “finish the work he started, and that doesn’t just mean destroying democracy at home, by the way,” she added. His other main goal was to “take America out of the realm of democratic internationalism and into harmony with autocracies.” That will happen too.”
Watch the interview here: