Paul Begala: Trump Is an 'Autocrat,' Wants to Be Like Assad, Stalin

January 17, 2018

CNN commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is an "autocrat" who aspires to be like the late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Begala, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, called it "historically significant" that a Republican like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake would go on the Senate floor and compare Trump to Stalin in a speech (a comparison Flake would later walk back).

Flake on Wednesday castigated Trump for his attacks on the media, saying that the president "uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies."

"When you compare our president, my president, to Joseph Stalin, to Rodrigo Duterte, the dictator in the Philippines, to Bashar Assad, the dictator in Syria, that's extraordinary," Begala said.

"Do you think that's a fair comparison?" host Brianna Keilar asked.

"In the sense that they lie? Yes! He is a liar," Begala responded.

"They're known for other things too, Paul. Let's be clear," Keilar pointed out.

But the former Clinton advisor insisted that Trump does not just attack the press, but also the CIA, the FBI, members of the judiciary, and anyone who opposes him.

"He attacks any check on his power, because he would like to be like Duterte, Assad, Putin, Stalin," he insisted. "That's his goal; he's an autocrat."