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As Tanks Roll Into DC, Trump’s Controversial Tiananmen Square Comments Resurface

Armored vehicles, jet flyovers, and military helicopters are set to be featured during this year’s Independence Day celebration in Washington D.C., which President Donald Trump has co-opted, according to some, into becoming more of a political show of force on his part.

Photo by Andrew Spear/Getty Images

As these vehicles have rolled into the city (some, like U.S. Army tanks, quite literally), comparisons to other autocratic nations can’t seem to be helped but be made.

Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe, for example, tweeted out his view that the scenes were reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China, from 1989.

Chinese troops quelled a demonstration of a student-led mass protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989, brutally killing possibly thousands of protesters, and arresting as many as 10,000 individuals, CNN recalled on the 30th anniversary of the massacre last month. Dozens were executed after being arrested.

The comparisons to the imagery of Tiananmen have led some to dig up an interview that Trump gave in 1990, where the then-businessman seemingly admired the actions of the Chinese government as demonstrating strength.

In a Playboy interview he gave at the time, Trump lamented that the Soviet Union and the United States were both looking weak, in his mind. China, on the other hand, by stopping these demonstrations the year prior, looked relatively strong.

“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength,” Trump said. “That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak…as being spit on by the rest of the world.”

As Raw Story pointed out, Trump’s comments were brought forward during last month’s anniversary of the massacre — but are being renewed again as Trump prepares his own show of force in Washington D.C. during the Independence Day celebrations.

Trump’s fascination with autocratic leaders and leadership styles has been well-documented for quite some time. At the G20 Summit last week, for instance, a journalist asked him why he’s so cozy with strongmen leaders and dictators. Trump turned the question around, and attacked the media in general, HuffPost reported.

“I get along with everybody, except you people,” Trump said, referring to the reporters in the room. He added, “I get along with (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin, I get along with Mohammed (bin Salman) from Saudi Arabia.”



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