A Washington Post analysis uses the example of several dictators to compare the characteristics of the “personalistic” authoritarian regimes to the flattery outbreaks in the Trump administration. Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu is among the dictators mentioned.
The article starts with the information that “people close to President Trump flatter him publicly, while apparently bad-mouthing him behind his back.”
Some examples of flattery provided in the article include White House aide Stephen Miller calling Trump a “political genius,” and vice president Michael Pence’s effusive praising of the president in a December Cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, private opinions are very different as revealed in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the article notes.
The analysis points to “similar dynamics in some authoritarian regimes, where elite subordinates excessively praise the leader.” It uses the examples of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, of Spanish dictator Fancisco Franco, and of Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko to look at how flattery of the ruler works.
In the case of Ceausescu, some of the flattery formulas used were “the giant of the Carpathians,” “the source of our light,” “the treasure of wisdom and charisma,” “the great architect,” “the celestial body” and “the new morning star.”
While arguing that the Trump White House is not a personalistic regime, “its chaotic environment displays some similarities to the “courts” of personal rulers,” the analysis shows. These include making decisions outside formal lines of authority, and the president’s emphasis on personal loyalty.
This is not the first time Donald Trump and Nicolae Ceausescu are associated in public discourse. Last year, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used the example of Ceausescu visiting the UK in 1978 to argue that the British Government shouldn’t revoke an invitation to Donald Trump.