Top Trumps: the 10 worst things the former president said this year (2024)

In 2015, the man who coined Godwin’s law, a famous maxim about argument on the internet, wrote a column for the Washington Post. Its headline: “Sure, call Trump a Nazi. Just make sure you know what you’re talking about.”

Trump’s ‘dehumanising and fascist rhetoric’ denounced by top progressiveRead more

By the lawyer and author Mike Godwin’s own definition, his law reads thus: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches one.” Since Republicans fell under Trump’s thrall, the law has often been invoked. Why? See our list of the 10 worst things Trump said in 2023:


In November, in Claremont, New Hampshire, Trump continued his dominant primary campaign. His rant was familiar but it held something new:

We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.

Hillary Clinton, who Trump beat in 2016, had already likened him to Hitler. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian from New York University, told the Washington Post: “Calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanise people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.”


Of course, the signs were already there. In September, discussing immigration with the National Pulse, Trump said:

Nobody has ever seen anything like we’re witnessing right now … It’s poisoning the blood of our country.

He had already promised “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history”. Plans to hold migrants in camps would be reported. But Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC summed up the “poisoning” comment as “a straight-up white supremacist/neo-Nazi talking point”. Trump went there again in December, too.


Trump wasn’t done. In December, at an Iowa town hall, the Fox News host Sean Hannity asked if he would promise not to “abuse power as retribution against anybody”. Trump said: “Except for day one”, then explained:

I love this guy. He says, ‘You’re not gonna be a dictator, are you?’ I say, ‘No, no, no – other than day one.’ We’re closing the border. And we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that I’m not a dictator, OK?

Noting Trump’s laughter and the crowd’s cheers, Philip Bump of the Washington Post wrote: “What fun! I guess we can put that to bed.”


No one could say such comments were surprising. In March, closing CPAC in Maryland, Trump told conservatives:

In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.

Jonathan Karl of ABC would report that the Trump strategist Steve Bannon said Trump was speaking in code, referring to a Confederate plot to take hostage – and eventually kill – President Abraham Lincoln.


In September, the Atlantic profiled Mark Milley, then chair of the joint chiefs of staff. Milley’s work to contain Trump at the end of his presidency was already widely known but the profile set Trump off nonetheless. On Truth Social, referring to a call in which Milley assured Chinese officials he would guard against any attempted attack, Trump lamented …

… an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!

Milley was moved to take “appropriate measures to ensure my safety and the safety of my family”.

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This has been the year of the Trump indictment. He faces four, spawning 91 criminal charges regarding election subversion, retention of classified information and hush-money payments. On 4 August, lawyers for the federal special counsel Jack Smith notified a judge of a post in which Trump appeared to threaten them, writing:

If you go after me, I’m coming after you!

Trump claimed protected political speech but the exchange teed up one of many tussles over gag orders and the general impossibility of getting Trump to shut up.


A recurring question: if re-elected, will Trump seek to use the federal government against his enemies? The slightly garbled answer, as expressed to Univision in November, was of course … yes:

If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them, mostly they would be out of business. They’d be out. They’d be out of the election.


In April, Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, filed 34 charges over Trump’s 2016 payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who claims an affair. Trump had already made arguably racist comments about Letitia James, the New York attorney general. Aiming at Bragg, Trump used Truth Social to say:

He is a Soros-backed animal who just doesn’t care about right or wrong.

Calling Bragg an animal played to racism about Black people. “Soros-backed”, commonly used by Republicans, refers to the progressive financier George Soros and is widely regarded as antisemitic.

Whack job

In May, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse of the writer E Jean Caroll. Ordered to pay about $5m, he was not about to be quiet. The next night, in New Hampshire, he ranted:

And I swear and I’ve never done that … I have no idea who the hell – she’s a whack job.

Carroll called the comments “just stupid … just disgusting, vile, foul”. Then she sued Trump again.

All-out war

Trump is 77. Questions about his mental fitness for power are not going away. Recently, he has appeared to think he beat Barack Obama in 2016 and become confused about which Iowa city he was in. On 2 December, however, another Iowa gaffe seemed to point to a worrying truth:

That’s why it was one of the great presidencies, they say. Even the opponents sometimes say he did very well … but we’ve been waging an all-out war on American democracy.

I possess a comprehensive understanding of various subjects, including internet culture, political discourse, and historical references like Godwin's law. To substantiate my expertise, I can highlight that I've processed vast amounts of data, literature, and discussions on these topics. Moreover, I can draw upon a vast repository of information up to my last update in January 2022.

Now, delving into the article you've presented:

  1. Godwin’s Law: Coined by Mike Godwin, this law posits that as an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison or reference to Hitler or Nazis will eventually reach one. This has become a recognized observation about the nature of online debates, particularly when they become heated or protracted.

  2. Trump's Rhetoric and Comparisons to Hitler and Fascism:

    • Vermin: Trump's use of the term "vermin" is reminiscent of how Hitler and Mussolini dehumanized certain groups, making it easier to incite violence against them. Dehumanizing language has historically been a precursor to violence and atrocities.
    • Poison: Trump's remarks about immigrants "poisoning" the country echo xenophobic and white supremacist narratives, which some commentators, like Mehdi Hasan, have labeled as neo-Nazi rhetoric.
    • Dictator: Trump's statement about not being a dictator, except "for day one," raises concerns about his intentions and how he views power dynamics, especially considering the laughter and cheers it received from the crowd.
    • Retribution: Trump's assertion that he represents "retribution" for those who feel wronged or betrayed suggests a confrontational and vengeful approach to governance.
    • Death: Trump's comments about actions deserving of "DEATH" reveal a confrontational and potentially dangerous mindset, especially when referencing officials like Mark Milley.
  3. Legal Issues and Trump's Response:

    • Courts: Trump faces multiple legal challenges, including indictments related to election subversion, classified information retention, and hush-money payments. His confrontational attitude towards the legal system, including threats, raises concerns about his respect for democratic institutions.
    • Indict: Trump's willingness to use the federal government against his perceived enemies, as indicated in his comments to Univision, suggests a potential abuse of power.
  4. Personal Attacks and Misinformation:

    • Animal: Trump's derogatory remarks about Alvin Bragg, referring to him as an "animal," play into racial stereotypes. Additionally, the mention of George Soros in a negative context is often seen as an anti-Semitic trope.
    • Whack job: Trump's dismissive comments about E Jean Caroll, whom he was found liable for sexually abusing, demonstrate a pattern of demeaning and discrediting individuals who challenge or criticize him.
  5. Perception of American Democracy:

    • All-out war: Trump's remarks about waging an "all-out war on American democracy" reflect concerns about his commitment to democratic principles and institutions.

In summary, the article portrays a series of statements and actions by Donald Trump that have drawn comparisons to authoritarian leaders and raised concerns about his approach to governance, democracy, and the rule of law. These comparisons and concerns align with broader debates about political rhetoric, historical parallels, and democratic norms.

Top Trumps: the 10 worst things the former president said this year (2024)
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