They called Trump a Dictator. The problem was that he was not even close to using his powers as President.
Applying this observation to candidate Trump’s hyperbole suggested that President Trump might suffer from what Theodore Roosevelt called the most self-destructive of habits, combining “the unbridled tongue with the unready hand.” And, in fact, President Trump neither fired and referred for prosecution James Comey or the other intelligence officials who had run the surveillance of his campaign. He praised them, and let himself be persuaded to fire General Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, who stood in the way of the intelligence agencies’ plans against him. Nor did he declassify and make public all the documents associated with their illegalities.
Four years later, he left office with those documents still under seal. He criticized officials over whom he had absolute power, notably CIA’s Gina Haspel who likely committed a crime spying on his candidacy, but left them in office. Days after his own inauguration, he suffered the CIA’s removal of clearances from one of his appointees because he was a critic of the Agency. Any president worthy of his office would have fired the entire chain of officials who had made that decision. Instead, he appointed to these agencies people loyal to them and hostile to himself.
He acted similarly with other agencies. His first secretary of state, secretary of defense, and national security advisor mocked him publicly. At their behest, in August 2017, he gave a nationally televised speech in which he effectively thanked them for showing him that he had been wrong in opposing ongoing war in the Middle East. He railed against Wall Street but left untouched the tax code’s “carried interest” provision that is the source of much unearned wealth. He railed against the legal loophole that lets Google, Facebook, and Twitter censor content without retribution, but did nothing to close it. Already by the end of January 2017, it was clear that no one in Washington needed to fear Trump. By the time he left office, Washington was laughing at him.