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Trump accuses Biden of running ‘Gestapo administration’

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused Democratic rival President Joe Biden of running a “Gestapo government” in a private speech to donors in which he also attacked prosecutors involved in his criminal charges, according to a recording heard by US media.

Mr. Trump, whose own rhetoric has drawn accusations of fascist tendencies from civil rights groups and other critics, made the comparison to Nazi police in the German regime during World War II during a May 4 donor retreat at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm. Beach, Florida.

The comments came after Trump repeated his complaint that the multiple charges against him were politically motivated. He has just completed 11 days of a hush money trial in New York, in which he is accused of falsifying company records to cover up a $130,000 ($175,370) payment to a porn star.

“These people are running a Gestapo administration,” Trump said, according to an audio recording heard by the New York Times and the Washington Post. “And it’s the only thing they have. And it’s the only way they can win, in their opinion, and it’s actually killing them. But I do not care.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the reported remarks.

The former president, who held office from 2017 to 2021, is facing a series of legal challenges in criminal and civil cases as he tries to regain the presidency in the Nov. 5 election. He denies in all cases that there was any misconduct.

Trump has made a series of inflammatory and racist statements during his campaign, using violent images to criticize immigrants and opponents. He has warned of violence if he does not win the 2024 elections and has compared immigrants to animals.

In November, Biden attacked Trump for using the word “vermin” to refer to his political enemies, saying it echoed the language of Nazi Germany. Also last year, Trump said immigrants who entered the country illegally were “poisoning the blood of our country.”

Some historians say such comments echo those of autocrats who have tried to dehumanize their enemies. The Trump campaign has previously rejected comparisons to Nazis, Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini.

The Biden campaign said the reported comments underscored the Republican candidate’s anger and desire for revenge.

“Trump is once again making despicable and offensive comments about the Holocaust while in the same breath attacking law enforcement, celebrating political violence and threatening our democracy,” spokesman James Singer said in a statement.

On Saturday night, Trump used expletives to refer to U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith, according to reports, and mocked Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting a state election interference case.

Smith, a frequent target of Trump, is the prosecutor handling federal cases involving efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s 2020 election loss to Mr. Biden and the former president’s handling of classified government materials.

Trump, a former New York businessman and reality TV host, described Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug smugglers when he ran for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election. He was widely criticized after a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 , as he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters and said “both sides” were to blame.

Mr Biden has said the events in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed, motivated him to run for president against Mr Trump in 2020. REUTERS