Donald Trump Just Delivered Some of His Most Chillingly Authoritarian Remarks to Date
President Donald Trump drew harsh criticism during a speech he gave at a factory near Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, in which he casually accused Democrats of "treason" for not expressing enthusiasm for his agenda during the State of the Union address last week.
The president told his audience that during his speech before a joint session of Congress, he noticed many Democrats were not clapping "even on positive news." He called the lack of applause "un-American," before taking a cue from someone in the audience who apparently called out, "treason."
Trump says Democrats who didn't clap for him at the State of the Union are "un-American" and "treasonous." pic.twitter.com/lKUx0m3KKK— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 5, 2018
Critics pointed out that his remarks carried racial implications as well as disturbing overtones of authoritarianism. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus notably did not applaud when Trump heralded his often-repeated point that "African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded."
Trump just said Dem lawmakers (presumably the Black Caucus) who didn't clap at SOTU when he talked lower black unem… https://t.co/6nIwTEXtTk— Jennifer Bendery (@Jennifer Bendery)1517860803.0
Trump's comment about unemployment among black Americans is technically correct, but the number has been declining steadily since 2010, when President Barack Obama was still in his first term—leading many to take issue with the fact that Trump has repeatedly taken credit for low unemployment numbers.
During Obama's presidency, Republican lawmakers routinely refrained from applauding as he discussed expanding health insurance coverage via the Affordable Care Act and enacting other policies to which Republicans were opposed.
On Twitter, critics slammed the president for suggesting that a lack of enthusiasm for his agenda is "treasonous"—especially as Trump himself is being investigated for his ties to Russia amid concerns over its interference with the 2016 election.
Here we go again. Writes @jonathanchait, “It is the logic and rhetoric of authoritarianism in its purest form. But… https://t.co/habAhTKXFe— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1517864432.0
@jonathanchait When dissent is treason, we’re no longer in a representative democracy. The fact that this @POTUS is… https://t.co/iJfUF7TJbm— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1517864983.0
A scary statement, even by Trump standards. https://t.co/20Cuj83tkW— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPost Politics)1517862037.0
Trump at #SOTU on Jan. 30: “Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground,… https://t.co/zPPFjVFyGp— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu)1517864795.0