Former US president Donald Trump responded to Democratic caution about his potential return to power, saying he would be a dictator only “on day one” if he were to return to the White House.
Mr Trump's remarks during a town hall event with Fox News host Sean Hannity came shortly after President Joe Biden suggested part of his reason for seeking re-election is because of his predecessor's candidacy.
“Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Hannity asked Mr Trump.
“Except for day one,” Mr Trump replied.
When asked to clarify, Mr Trump said he would use his powers to close the US-Mexico border and “drill, drill, drill”.
He did not directly answer a similar line of questioning at an earlier point in the event when Hannity asked if he had “any plans whatsoever, if re-elected president, to abuse power, to break the law to use the government to go after people”.
Mr Trump replied: “You mean like they’re using right now?” seemingly in reference to the Democrats.
The former president, who is facing numerous federal investigations, has previously threatened to prosecute Mr Biden if he returns to the Oval Office.
“Donald Trump has been telling us exactly what he will do if he’s re-elected and tonight he said he will be a dictator on day one. Americans should believe him,” Mr Biden's campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement, AP reported.
The town hall was in Davenport, Iowa, on the eve of the final Republican debate ahead of the primary season.
Mr Trump, the front-runner to secure the Republican Party's nomination, is once again skipping the debate and will instead attend a fund-raiser in Florida.