A decorated retired US Army general has compared Donald Trump to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and said the president’s actions over the past week are a watershed moment for America.
The four-star general wrote: “The White House Trump statement telling the entire Federal Government to terminate subscriptions to the NYT and Wash Post is a watershed moment in national history.
“No room for HUMOROUS media coverage. This is deadly serious. This is Mussolini.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has attempted to play down the move as a cost-saving measure.
She described it as a “significant cost saving for taxpayers - hundreds of thousands of dollars”.
Mr Trump has been particularly critical of the Times and Post, and on Monday he told Fox News that “we don’t want” the two titles in the White House anymore, adding that they would be “terminated”.
Print editions stopped appearing in the White House on Tuesday, but online access remains; both offer free digital subscriptions to federal government employees and servicemen and women whose email addresses end in '.gov' or '.mil.'
The White House's other newspaper subscriptions - including Financial Times, The Hill, the New York Post, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and USA Today - continue.
Mussolini came to power in Italy in a 1922 coup, allying himself with other European fascist leaders.
He was eventually captured by communist partisans while trying to flee to neutral Switzerland and executed.
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