Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump retweeted a quote widely attributed to Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
The tweet, created by a parody account and including Mr 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 Mussolini’s Italian title, the Leader.
Asked about the tweet in a TV interview, Mr Trump said he wanted “to be associated with interesting quotes”.
“Mussolini was Mussolini… What difference does it make?” Mr Trump said when asked about the retweet on NBC’s Meet The Press programme. “It got your attention, didn’t it?”
Mussolini led Italy from 1922 until 1943, and led the country into war with the US in 1941.
The Gawker website claimed it had created “a Twitter bot that would post quotes from the writings and speeches of… Mussolini” at Mr Trump until he eventually retweeted one.
Mr Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican party nomination for the US presidential election later this year.
One of his previous rivals for the candidacy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, endorsed him on Friday, in a sign that parts of the Republican party establishment, long appalled by the prospect of a Trump candidacy, may be resigned to the prospect.
On Sunday Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard and former finance co-chair of Mr Christie’s campaign, called Mr 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,” Ms Whitman said.
An NBC poll put Mr Trump ahead in contests in Georgia and Tennessee due on 1 March as part of “Super Tuesday”, when 11 states will go to the polls to choose candidates.
His 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.