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Of course, Berlusconi and Trump share some superficial similarities, including multiple marriages and a generally vulgar style. But the most important – and the most worrying – qualities they share is an ability to substitute salesmanship for substance, a willingness to tell bald-faced lies in pursuit of publicity and advantage, and an eagerness to intimidate critics into silence.Trump is aggressive with his opponents, especially in the media.Some pundits who have invoked the Berlusconi comparison have highlighted one distinction between the bombastic billionaires: Berlusconi, they say, at least has some charm and much more business acumen. This assessment is not only far too generous toward Berlusconi; it also risks making it seem that Trump is less dangerous than his Italian counterpart.While Berlusconi undoubtedly possesses business acumen, he has, like Trump, cut plenty of corners along the way. The ties of Berlusconi's close aides and friends to Italy's various Mafia clans are well documented.What is important is that both Trump and Berlusconi are ruthless and willing to resort to any means to achieve their (self-serving) ends.Given this, underestimating Trump would be a huge mistake; he will always prove stronger, more slippery and more enduring than expected.
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