It has been clear for years that Donald Trump looks up to authoritarian governments and political leaders, and in particular that he respects them specifically for their use of force and violence, and their rejection of the central tenets of the democratic process.
In 1989, for example, Trump told Playboy that the Chinese government’s massacre of student protesters at Tianamen Square was “vicious,” it was also a display of power used to put down a “riot.” For Trump, the incident provided a useful contrast between the way China handles dissent and the way the United States responds to critics. “They put it down with strength,” Trump said. “That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.” China, according to Trump, is strong because it puts down critics with violence, which not only crushes dissent but serves as a display of its power. The United States does not, and is therefore weak.
Trump has praised numerous authoritarian leaders using similar language.