The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination used his Twitter account to apparently endorse a quote by none other than Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. This would hardly mark the first time Donald Trump raises more than a few eyebrows by retweeting a follower. But this time around the whole thing is rather striking as the account is a pretty clear parody that likens Mussolini to the real estate mogul and even goes on to attribute the well-known quote to Trump. “‘It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.’ –@realDonaldTrump #MakeAmericaGreatAgain,” reads the tweet.
The account in question is “ilduce2016,” which has as its Twitter avatar a composite image of Trump’s hair on Mussolini’s head. Mussolini’s followers often referred to him as “Il Duce.” The whole thing may be a bit subtle if you consider that earlier this year, Trump retweeted a user named “WhiteGenocideTM”—twice.
Trump sees Mussolini quote, thinks: "I like the sound of that." https://t.co/o1GjAk6tMU— Jacob Weisberg (@jacobwe) February 28, 2016
Update, 11:45 a.m.: Gawker revealed it was their doing. The website created a bot in December to periodically spit out Mussolini quotes and credit them to Trump, hoping the presidential hopeful would eventually retweet them. "At the time of the account’s creation, Gawker Media Executive Editor John Cook expressed some concern that the joke behind the account was far too obvious, and wouldn’t trick anyone but a complete idiot," writes Gawker's Alex Pareene.