American presidential candidate Donald Trump has found himself on the receiving end of an online frenzy after he retweeted a quote attributed to the founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini. The original tweet was from an account named @ilduce2016, which is a Twitter bot belonging to the American blog site Gawker.
The ilduce2016 account was set up by Gawker’s Ashley Feinberg who created a bot in late 2015 that would periodically tweet quote from Mussolini’s speeches and political writings, but instead attributing them to Donald Trump and tweeting them solely at Trump himself. The account’s name is a reference to Mussolini’s title during his time in power, “Il Duce” translates from Italian as “the leader”, describing his dictatorial position and went on to inspire other fascist dictators to assume similar titles. More amusingly, the image used on the Twitter account is one of Mussolini with Donald Trump’s wig edited onto it.
Gawker admitted ownership of the bot on Sunday, as part of a plan to answer the question “Is Donald Trump a fascist?” Trump has been known to retweet comments and quotes from his fans and supporters, with the presidential candidate using the platform as his go-to for social media, flaunting his own greatness and putting down his detractors. With the name, image and quotes, the bot was anything but a subtle trap, but, after only a few months, Trump had been caught out. It is unknown whether Trump knew the original source of the quote, but social media was quick to catch onto it.
This is far from the first time that Trump has made careless gaffes on Twitter. One such incident, which resulted in the creation of a Trump Retweets bot which shares the profile of everyone he retweets, followed him retweeting a user named “@WhiteGenocideTM”.