Trump former advisers sound the alarm that he praises despots in private and on the campaign trail

March 11, 2024

“He views himself as a big guy,” John Bolton, who served as national security adviser under Trump, told me. Trump lamented that Hitler, as Kelly recounted, maintained his senior staff’s “loyalty,” while Trump himself often did not. “He truly believed, when he brought us generals in, that we would be loyal — that we would do anything he wanted us to do,” Kelly told me. ‘Shocked that he didn’t have dictatorial-type powers’Trump’s former advisers say he most consistently lavished praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a town hall organized by Fox News in July 2023, Trump said, “Think of President Xi: central casting, brilliant guy.