UPDATED: 3:23 p.m. EDT, Sept. 6 —
This man has been called an unqualified dictator who flaunts a cabinet replete with suspected criminals and made a number of nepotistic appointments to lofty government positions. He was also elected under the suspicion of fraudulent means.
Who is he?
If you guessed President Donald Trump, you’d be right. But you’d also be correct for guessing Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who died on Thursday, nearly two years after he was removed from power by the country’s military. The two have more in common than some might care to admit.
While Mugabe ruled his country for nearly 40 years, Trump has attained similarly scrutinized status as president in just one year’s time.
Both have also attempted to repurpose policy to accommodate their personal agendas. For example, Mugabe changed the Zimbabwe constitution to give himself the title of president more than three decades ago. For his part, Trump has seemingly tried to influence the Justice Department, which appointed Robert Mueller to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
They have also surrounded themselves with family members whose political qualifications have been questioned. In fact, that’s what apparently led to Mugabe’s ouster – he fired one of his vice presidents last week to reportedly pave the way for first lady Grace Mugabe to become his successor despite her unpopularity in the country.
The Zimbabwe army removed Mugabe in November of 2017 in part because of the “criminals” in his cabinet are “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country,” Army Major General Sibusiso Moyo said in part while addressing the nation following what bore all the hallmarks of a coup d’etat.
Multiple members of Trump’s cabinet have been suspected of side-stepping the law, including colluding with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate. While collusion isn’t necessarily a crime, treason is.
With so many similarities between the two, could the U.S. also be on the verge of a military rebellion to remove Trump from the White House and reclaim the country for its citizens? That’s doubtful. But as has been shown repeatedly since Trump declared his candidacy for president, the unexpected is the new normal, so we just have to stay tuned.