Donald Trump has come under fire after he retweeted a quote attributed to Benito Mussolini, the leader of the Italian National Fascist Party.
The initial tweet, which Trump retweeted from a parody account, read: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
It originated from the account Ilduce2016, which is a Twitter bot created by a Gawker writer that posts quotes from the Italian fascist dictator, but attributes them to Trump.
The U.S.-based blog said it was designed to “trap” the Republican candidate “under the assumption that Trump would retweet just about anything, no matter how dubious or vile the source, as long as it sounded like praise for himself.”
The account’s name Il Dulce, which loosely translates to “the leader” in Italian, was used by fascists to identify Mussolini as head of the movement.
Trump’s retweet drew anger from many Twitter users.
To the folks trying to allay my concern that Trump is Mussolini 2.0: Today your guy quotes Mussolini and refuses to denounce KKK.
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) February 28, 2016
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) February 28, 2016
On Sunday morning, Trump defended his actions to NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Look Mussolini was Mussolini,” he said. “It’s a very good quote. It is a very interesting quote … and I know who said it, but what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else?”
When pressed by the host if he wanted to be associated with Mussolini, whose National Fascist Party ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943, Trump, again, refused to back down.
“No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes,” he said. “I have almost 14 million people between Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and all of that, and we do interesting things and I sent it out, and certainly it got your attention didn’t it?”
In January, Trump deleted a retweet showing a doctored image of former GOP rival Jeb Bush holding a “Vote Trump” sign after its author was found to be a Nazi sympathizer.
And late last year, he faced criticism for retweeting a photo collage that contained an edited image of former GOP rival Jeb Bush.
In an appearance on CTV News Channel, Jonathan Miller, U.S. politician and founder of the website The Recovering Politician, doubted the latest incident would affect Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Trump looks like a buffoon, but the question is: He has looked like a buffoon many dozens of times over the last few months and will this have any impact? Probably not,” said Miller.