Donald Trump is fueled by grievances. He has demonstrated time and time again that he holds grudges, and that he’ll use whatever power he has — legal, political, or *gulp* executive — to punish the people he feels have wronged him. It’s shaping up to be a bloodbath if he wins his third bid for the White House in 2024.
The former president called into Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Thursday. He immediately started rambling, first about how the war in Ukraine would have never happened if he was in charge, and then about how he’s “suing Pulitzer” for rewarding The New York Times and The Washington Post. “I was a victim and everyone knows it,” he said of their coverage of the Russia investigation.
Hewitt ultimately had to cut Trump off to ask him about concerns that if he were to win the 2024 election he would use the powers of the presidency to punish the people who punished him.
“No, I wouldn’t do that because I want to bring our country forward,” Trump said. “No, I wouldn’t do that. I would be entitled to a revenge tour if you want to know the truth, but I wouldn’t do that.”
Trump went on to tout how Kim Jong-un likes him and doesn’t like President Biden before, of course, working his way back to complaining about the Russia investigation. “They spied on my campaign and I got rid of them all,” he crowed.
It’s still two years before the winner of the 2024 election takes office, but early reports indicate Trump would bring an iron fist into the Oval Office. Jonathan Swan of Axios reported last summer that his allies are planning to “radically reshape the federal government” if he wins, enacting an executive order known as “Schedule F” that would allow the Trump administration to purge the government and restock it with loyalists.
The report was part of a multi-part series title “Trump’s Revenge.”
Trump is likely to take particularly interest in the Justice Department given his rifts with Jeff Sessions and William Barr, his two most notable attorneys general. He told Hewitt on Thursday that he already has people in mind for the top spot in the DOJ. Trump’s own legal troubles are also a concern, and Rolling Stone reported last summer that Trump believes he needs to win the White House not just because he wants to prove everyone wrong, but to ensure he wouldn’t be subject to prosecution.
The only thing that could stand to thwart Trump’s obsession with pulling every lever of power within his reach to punish his enemies is his own incompetence. Rolling Stone also reported last summer that Trump’s 2024 plan includes appointing washed-up conservative media crank Lou Dobbs to a Cabinet position.