Donald Trump said he'd be a dictator for one day. His supporters say they're not worried.

"DURHAM, N.H. – Former President Donald Trump drew a torrent of criticism when he told Fox News' Sean Hannity earlier this month he wouldn't be a dictator "except on Day One" of a second administration.

But many attendees at Trump's campaign rally Saturday at the University of New Hampshire said the comment was a joke meant to provoke his rivals. The voters said they're not concerned Trump would truly lead as a dictator.

'He's like a guy with a laser pointer, and the left is a cat,' said John LaClair, who drove from Barrington to attend the rally with his brother.

Rather, more than a dozen people who spoke with USA TODAY outside the rally said they believe the presidency would give Trump enough power to legally accomplish what is most important to them. That ranges from strengthening the economy to stopping migration at the southern border and preventing U.S. participation in foreign conflicts [...]

The interpretation of Trump's comments among supporters at his Saturday rally diverges from the rising alarm among authoritarianism experts. Some have issued warnings about America's institutions.

'Two things about Trump. One, he often says what he means and he often says it in the form of a joke,' said Mabel Berezin, a sociology professor at Cornell University who studies nationalist and populist political movements. 'The second part of it is, I don't think we should discount him.'

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