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CNN's Bash: Leaders who jail opponents are dictators
00:56 - Source: CNN

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CNN's Dana Bash: Dictators put their opponents in jail

Trump campaign manager says the "jail" comment was just a quip

CNN  — 

Donald Trump has been called a lot of things in recent months. Now, after he threatened during Sunday’s debate to jail Hillary Clinton if he is elected, some are comparing him to a dictator.

“What makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa, or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders, is when they took over, they put their opponents in jail,” CNN’s Dana Bash said Sunday night after the debate.

“To hear one presidential candidate say – even if it was a flip comment, which it was – ‘You’re going to be in jail’ to another presidential candidate on a debate stage in the United States of America, is stunning,” she said. “Just stunning.”

Bash was referring to a contentious moment during the debate when Trump said that if he becomes president, he’ll ask his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

Clinton responded by saying “it’s just awfully good” that someone with Trump’s temperament is not running the country.

“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump retorted.

Related: Trump threatened to jail Clinton if elected. These countries might do the same

The Republican presidential nominee’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, brushed off the comment, saying Trump was “channeling the frustrations” of many Americans over the email issue. But it resonated with others.

“That’s what dictators do,” Sen. Chris Coons (D) of Delaware said on CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning.

So what would Clinton do to Trump if she becomes president? Joel Benenson, her campaign’s chief strategist, said on “New Day” that she would “probably ignore him.”

“I think if she becomes president, he will be a footnote in history.”