Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has reportedly retweeted a quote by Benito Mussolini, the World War II-era fascist Italian dictator. Trump retweeted the post from an account parodying Mussolini that compared the dictator to Trump on Feb. 28.
Trump’s post read “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep,” a famous quote from Mussolini, reported The New York Times.
Donald Trump has incited controversy through his Twitter account before, and has been rebuked by many politicians for his rhetoric that has been described as fascist.
Trump claimed that he was not aware that Mussolini originally said the quote that he tweeted during an interview with NBC’s "Meet the Press."
“It’s a very good quote. I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else -- it’s a very good quote,” said Trump.
News outlet Gawker claimed credit for creating the account “ilduce2016” that originally posted the Mussolini tweet retweeted by Trump. The parody account reportedly tweeted Mussolini quotes at Trump in an effort to trick the presidential candidate into retweeting one of them, reports Gawker. Il Duce (the leader) was a name used for Mussolini.
Trump uses his Twitter account to insult his political enemies, and frequently retweets praise for himself, according to Gawker.
The controversy surrounding Trump’s retweet of the founder of fascism comes before Super Tuesday, when more than 10 states will hold primary elections for the Democratic and Republican candidates for president.
According to a CNN poll released Feb. 29, Trump has the support of just under half of likely Republican voters across the U.S. At the same time, roughly 25 percent of Republicans say that they “probably or definitely” will not support Trump in the general election.
Trump’s supporters say they are particularly enthusiastic about the election, as 80 percent claim that they are more enthusiastic about the 2016 election than previous years, the CNN poll found.
When Trump was asked on NBC’s "Meet the Press" whether he wanted to be associated with the fascist Mussolini, Trump responded, “No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes. Hey, it got your attention.”