The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

1922 Description Of Hitler Echoes 2016 Description Of Trump

“He is credibly credited with being actuated by lofty, unselfish patriotism. He probably does not know himself what he wants to accomplish,” wrote TheNew York Times. In 1922.

The quote described Adolf Hitler’s increasing power in what was then Germany’s fractious interwar politics.

The same line describes Donald Trump in 2016.

In fact, the parallels between the first mention of Hitler in the Times and contemporary discussion surrounding Trump are pretty astounding. The main difference is the target of their rhetoric: “He is ‘against Jews, Communists, Bolshevism, Marxian Socialism, Separatists, the high cost of living, existing conditions, the weak Berlin Government and the Versailles Treaty,” the Times wrote.

And Trump: “We have losers. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain,” he said late last year. Trump has positioned himself against Mexicans, Muslims, protesters, disabled reporters, other Republicans, Chinese workers, women, and countless others.

Comparing Trump to Hitler may seem excessive, but recall that the future Führer was seen as troubling, yes, but not a threat to the democratic institutions of the Weimar Republic. “But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded,” wrote Cyril Brown, the Times reporter. Hitler did not moderate his rhetoric towards Jews and other minorities once in power, and ultimately millions perished as a result of his race supremacist ideology, the same ideology many Trump supporters espouse.

The same mistaken claims are being made today: A similar notion, that Trump is softer on immigration than his rhetoric has suggested, recently came out of a closed-door meeting between the venerable paper and Trump. Both parties have refused to reveal the contents of the meeting. The Times’ editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, said that the comments were off the record, and that Trump would have to ask the paper to release the comments, at which point the paper will then decide whether to do so.

Perhaps the most troubling part of the 94-year old report is Hitler’s pandering. An unidentified German politician is quoted praising Hitler for his use of anti-Semitism as a vehicle of political mobilization — an ominous foreshadowing of the life it would take on in future years: “You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism,” he told the Times in 1922. “It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you are really leading them.”

It is not 1922. It is 2016. Society has the privilege and misfortune of knowing what happens when politicians run on xenophobic platforms that whip up nativist and racial supremacist forces. That mistake cannot be repeated, no matter how alluring the false promise is of a returning to a “glorious” past — or, Making America Great Again.

Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally where his former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, announced his endorsement for Trump’s candidacy for president, in Fort Worth, Texas February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Youtube Screenshot

In late 2011, John Oliver and his Daily Show cameraman made a trek to my office, then in Providence, Rhode Island, to take me to task. I had recently referred to the Tea Partiers who had pushed America to the brink of a disastrous default as "economic terrorists."

Oliver had apparently swallowed whole a series of barbs directed my way by a Wall Street Journal blogger who didn't seem to like women much. The blogger kept calling me the "Civility diva" and a "Baroness Catherine Ashton lookalike." (A member of the British parliament, Ashton was said to be homely.) He was quite the wit.

Keep reading...Show less

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Youtube Screenshot

Several mainstream media outlets are manufacturing a political narrative that the discovery of classified documents at the homes of both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence should alleviate pressure on disgraced former President Donald Trump, who not only took a vast trove of federal records but also refused to give them back.

Biden and Pence have both cooperated with federal investigators to recover and return documents that belong to the government, and both situations have rekindled scrutiny at the overall system of federal document classification and retention, which appears to be in serious need of reform. Their two examples stand in stark contrast to Trump’s behavior, and possible misconduct, regarding his own handling of government records.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}