- Former President Donald Trump has tried to use the presidency to make money, said an expert on fascism.
- Historian Ruth Ben-Giat told the Insider that Trump was a “loyal” and talented “cheater.”
- “He grabs his followers,” she said. He grabs his own followers.
Donald Trump pursued a unique goal as a former president of the United States; a goal that requires extreme discipline and dedication from the unlikely leader, according to an authoritarian expert.
“Trump’s goals as president were completely different from any other president, Republican or Democrat,” Ruth Ben-Giat, a New York University historian and expert on fascism, told Insider. “His goals were autocratic, as he wanted to turn the public service into a court for making money for himself; to make a private profit from public office.”
With public hearings on Jan. 6 that sparked renewed control over the last days of Trump’s rule, Ben-Giat spoke to Insider’s Charles R. Davis about the uprising, its continuing aftermath, and the former president’s discord at the center of it all.
At the second televised hearing of the congressional committee earlier this week, lawmakers focused on Trump’s huge fundraising efforts after the 2020 presidential election, in which his campaign sent millions of emails to supporters, claiming that the “left crowd” threatens the integrity of elections and encourages potential donors to “step up” and “strike back”.
According to investigators, Trump’s lies about voter fraud eventually led to $ 250 million in donations from Trump supporters following President Joe Biden’s victory in November. Most of the money raised ends up in the PAC, which has contributed significantly to Trump-supporting organizations and businesses, the panel said.
“So there was this scam,” Ben-Giat said. “He was extremely disciplined in fraud and in trying to use the presidency to make money.”
But the millions of dollars Trump has raised from small-scale donors should come as no surprise, according to Ben-Giat.
“The sad thing is that autocrats can be very loved by their followers, and people really love Trump. He has a real cult of personality,” she said. “But they despise their followers and use them. And this is where he gets his followers out [comes in]. Because he doesn’t get away from the Democrats; he grabs his followers, he grabs his own followers. ”
According to Ben-Giat, Trump’s presidential propensity to make money began long before the 2020 election. In his first three years as president, Trump spent nearly a third of his days on Trump-branded property, according to The Washington Post in December 2019. .
The former president’s money-making schemes even date back to before he won the presidency. When he campaigned for the first time, Trump was investigated for fraud through Trump University. The crime, Ben-Giat said, is his “model.”
“So, if someone with authoritarian thinking comes to power, the economy – our daily lives – is not favored. “She is at a disadvantage because they are not there for the public good,” she said. “They are not there for public welfare. They are there to get rich for themselves and their clan.”
Ben-Giat said the former president had behaved like an autocrat while in office for several reasons. In addition to his focus on money, Trump was an “extremely disciplined and capable” propagandist, she said.
“He tweeted more than 120 times a day,” she said. “If … we look at what autocrats are interested in, Trump has been extremely disciplined in doing these things.