Trump: I won’t be a dictator ‘except for day one’

The remarks may have been an attempt to defuse an issue that has bubbled up in recent weeks, with various news outlets spotlighting an authoritarian bent of Trump’s proposed second-term approach. But they were also quickly spotlighted by President Joe Biden’s campaign, suggesting that they felt Trump had provided them with ample fodder of his intentions.

“Donald Trump has been telling us exactly what he will do if he’s reelected and tonight he said he will be a dictator on day one. Americans should believe him,” Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.

Trump also told Hannity he does not expect President Biden to make it as the Democratic nominee in 2024, citing the president’s mental and physical wellbeing.

“I personally don’t think he makes it physically,” Trump said. “Mentally I would say he’s possibly equally as bad and maybe worse.”

Trump, 77, took aim at Biden as the current president faces mounting questions about the implications of his advanced age. Biden, who turned 81 in November, has repeatedly brushed off concerns about his age and ability to adequately perform his duties.

When asked who he thought would replace Biden as the Democratic nominee come next November, Trump indirectly pointed to Gavin Newsom, referencing the California governor’s debate last week.

“I saw him on the debate the other night,” Trump said. “He is slick, but has no facts. I thought he did well.”

Earlier in the day, Biden appeared at a fundraiser where he said he may not be running for reelection right now if he didn’t think Trump would be the Republican nominee. Pressed by reporters whether that meant he would drop out if Trump did as well, he said: “No, not now.”

Sam Stein contributed to this report.

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