Donald Trump has re-tweeted a quote attributed to Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
The tweet, created by a parody account and including Donald Trump’s handle, read: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
The account is named @ilduce2016 after Benito Mussolini’s Italian title, the Leader.
Asked about the tweet in a TV interview, Donald Trump said he wanted “to be associated with interesting quotes”.
“Mussolini was Mussolini… What difference does it make?” the Republican presidential hopeful said when asked about the re-tweet on NBC’s Meet The Press.
“It got your attention, didn’t it?”
Benito Mussolini led Italy from 1922 until 1943, and led the coutry into war with the US in 1941.
Correspondents say this is the latest example of behavior which would have damaged any other candidate but which seems not to dent Donald Trump’s status as frontrunner for the GOP nomination for the presidential election later this year.
Donald Trump’s campaign has seen a number of surprising moments, including one of his previous rivals for the candidacy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, endorsing him on February 26.
On February 28, Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard and former finance co-chair of Chris Christie’s campaign, called Christie’s endorsement “an astonishing display of political opportunism”.
“Trump would take America on a dangerous journey. Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly,” Meg Whitman said.
On the same day, Donald Trump appeared reluctant in a CNN interview to distance himself from an endorsement from David Duke, a former senior leader of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan. He told the interviewer he “didn’t know anything about David Duke”.
Later, however, he tweeted a video from an earlier press conference in which he appeared to recognize Duke’s name immediately and said: “David Duke endorsed me? OK, I disavow.”
An NBC poll put Donald Trump ahead in contests in Georgia and Tennessee due on March 1 as part of “Super Tuesday”, when 11 states will go to the polls to choose candidates.
Donald Trump’s rival Ted Cruz was ahead in his home state of Texas, while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton had leads in all three states over Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.