Early in his presidency, some people foresaw that Donald Trump was gradually turning into a dictator like Adolf Hitler. Such a comparison was then premature.

When Hitler wanted to get rid of his critics, he had them beaten, interned or murdered. The victims ranged from his early supporters (Röehm Putsch, 1934), to leading generals such as Field Marshal Johannes Erwin Rommel, to whom he sent cyanide pills in 1944 to force suicide.

Trump merely disparaged allies, the FBI, Russia probe's Robert Mueller and select other "irritating" entities. He time and again fired close associates. The press, he declared, was the enemy of the people.

When Hitler found the established judiciary not compliant enough, he established the extralegal Volksgerichtshof (People's Court) in 1934 in order to expedite the silencing of critics — nearly 90% of its cases ended in death sentences.

Trump attempted to pack the federal courts with people whom he expected to uphold his designs. But Trump's lawsuits to nullify elections were rejected, even by judges Trump himself had appointed.

With mesmerizing rhetorical skill, Hitler led a dispirited German people toward Nazism. Trump was a bumbling speaker, who lost millions of voters during his term in the White House.

Hitler was a megalomaniac who created laws for his own purposes. Trump considered himself above the American Constitution, and incited his goons to storm the Capitol.

Trump was decidedly more repugnant, and a bigger liar in public than Hitler, but a strong democratic tradition kept him from becoming as bad as Hitler.

ERHARD GROSS

Astoria