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Sen. John Cornyn Tweets Mussolini Quote and It Goes Awfully Wrong

A tweet sent by Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Sunday doesn’t seem to hold a party line, nor does it really clarify his stance on socialism.

Whether intentional by the Republican senior senator from Texas or a gaffe by a staffer, the message drew remarks from all across the political spectrum. The left side of the political aisle wonders if he knew what he tweeted while those on the right seem to push Cornyn into clarifying his statement.

First of all, here’s the tweet sent from Cornyn’s account Sunday morning:

“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.” Benito Mussolini

This is where the head scratching begins because, first of all, the Texas Republican is outspoken against Democratic Socialism. Secondly, he’s running for reelection in 2020, and the comment seems to have something missing.

Benito Mussolini was the fascist dictator of Italy from 1925 until he was killed during World War II in 1945, according to history.com. The leader known as Il Duce, or “The Leader," sided with Germany’s Adolf Hitler during the war.

Mussolini had ties to socialism long before World War II, including a stint as editor of a newspaper in Austria-Hungary. He was deported for violating freedom of press laws, according to the site.

Mussolini bounced around from one socialist publication to another and eventually rose to Italy’s national leader.

Though this doesn’t fit Cornyn’s prototype, he still messaged a quote from the Italian fascist.

Social media can be more relentless than a ballot box, and Twitter users on both sides of the political aisle weighed their concerns.

Someone who goes by “respectable lawyer” said “You hate Democratic Socialists so bad that you quoted Mussolini's warning about socialism?

I can't decide if you're too dumb to understand the quote or just a terrible American.”

Another follower called Republicans “such a broken party” by saying “The GOP is such a broken party that you have one of the highest senators in the country quoting fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Very normal, not deranged political party."

Meanwhile, David from New York wrote, “I’m told this is actually a right-wing talking point and what he’s saying is that Mussolini is bad, much like the libs. I don’t care, it’s insane either way.”

This user seemingly tried to read between the lines for any hidden text, but stumped himself to the point where he declared, “I deleted a tweet from today in which I asked (rhetorically) if a US senator had just quoted Mussolini (he had). After research, I believe he was *trying* to use the quote as Hayek had in The Road to Serfdom. But it's never a good idea to make an out-of-context Mussolini quote.”

And then this one says it all about the confusion of the Texas senator’s post.

“Is Cornyn quoting Mussolini to say he’s against complicated forms of society? or for them? Or is he saying his political opponents are for complicated forms of society because then they can pursue fascist goals? Quoting Fascist dictators out of context is a bit confusing.”

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