- Ruth Ben-Ghiat says President Trump has long admired authoritarian leaders
- His quick call congratulating the Turkish leader on a referendum that curbs democracy is disturbing, she says
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion, and professor of history and Italian studies at New York University. Her latest book is "Italian Fascism's Empire Cinema." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN)It's a haunting image. A basement space with blacked-out windows, crowded with camera equipment and journalists who were assigned to cover the Leader during the state visit of a foreign dignitary but were not allowed to look outside.