Trump can’t be a Nazi because he’s ‘not a student of Hitler’

Donald Trump joined conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday to discuss politics and his campaign. The more than 30-minute interview was 30 minutes more time than one should ever spend with the disgraced former president. Around 9 minutes in, Hewitt asked Trump about critics who say he has been employing “Hitlerian language,” at his rallies.

The specific language Hewitt referred to was Trump’s repeated description of immigrants as “poisoning the blood of our country.” Trump’s response was that he “never knew that Hitler said it,” and he “never read Mein Kampf.” He then rambled about how people of color in America love him and how he’s buddies with lone Black Republican Sen. Tim Scott.

Hewitt, attempting to get Trump back on something resembling the right track, repeated, “Your critics keep saying oh, he wants to be Hitler. He’s talking about poisoning our blood. He’s trying to be a Nazi. How do you respond to these people?”

First of all, I know nothing about Hitler. I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works. They say that he said something about blood. He didn’t say it the way I said it, either, by the way, It’s a very different kind of a statement. What I’m saying when I talk about people coming into our country is they are destroying our country.

Get that? He knows nothing about Hitler, and he never went to school for it. Also, Hitler didn’t say it the way Trump said it (does he mean “as well?”), and Trump’s sentiment is not only that Jews are ruining the country, it’s that everybody trying to immigrate to the United States is “poisoning the blood.” Hewitt never got around to mentioning Trump’s Veterans Day speech where he referred to his opponents as “vermin,” another classic Nazi-era antisemitic bit of business.

Trump’s first wife Ivana might disagree with her former husband’s assertion that he’s never read Hitler and knows nothing about him. Back in 1990, Ivana did an interview with Vanity Fair where there were these fun things about Hitler and the Nazis:

Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke. Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

In 1990, Trump was asked about this and got real cagey. Here’s how journalist Marie Brenner described the interaction:

“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

So maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. (Probability and circumstantial evidence says he did.) But guess what? Whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, Donald Trump is pushing the same malevolence as Hitler did.

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