ThinkProgress

As Trump assaults American democracy, Obama warns it could collapse, follow path of Nazi Germany

Former President Barack Obama address the participants at a summit on climate change involving mayors from around the globe Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Chicago. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

During a rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday night, President Donald Trump responded to chants from the crowd to “lock her up” by railing against the “rigged system” in the United States.

“Look, it’s being proven we have a rigged system,” Trump said. “Doesn’t happen so easy. But this system, there will be a lot of changes.”

“This is a sick system from the inside,” Trump continued. “And there’s no country like our country, but we have a lot of sickness in some of our institutions.”

“Lock her up” chants refer to Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump has long called for Clinton to be investigated for a litany of alleged actions, such as using a private server for State Department email. Numerous investigations by the FBI have shown no wrongdoings on the part of Clinton or her campaign. The Trump campaign, however, has produced four individuals that have been charged with crimes this year — and two who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the special counsel.

The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to shift focus from the wave of indictments against both low-level and high-level campaign officials by blaming the Clinton campaign for similar acts, like lying to the FBI. Trump called the news that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI “very unfair” and suggested that “Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI.” Trump also tweeted about the “rigged system” in response to Flynn’s indictment.

Former FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight Committee last summer that he had “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”

Trump’s comment on Friday night prompted criticism from Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who warned that the comments could sow distrust in democratic institutions.

Trump’s comments also came a few days after former President Barack Obama warned in a speech that without protecting democracy, the United States could easily fall into the same trap that helped the Nazis rise to power in the 1930s in Germany.

“You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said on Tuesday.

An October poll from the Washington Post found that under Trump, American faith in democracy has eroded, with the share of Americans who are not proud of how democracy works in this country double what it was three years ago.