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Opinion: The latest example of Trump’s apparent obsession with Nazism

CNN

Advice from Dean Obeidallah

(CNN) — At the Republican National Committee’s annual retreat this weekend, former President Donald Trump took the stage for a recording of the national anthem sung by the “J6 Prison Choir,” whose members were incarcerated for participating in a violent attempt to oust Trump. to keep power. his loss in the 2020 election.

This isn’t the first time Trump has kicked off an event by playing this song in honor of the attackers of January 6, 2021. Each time he does that, it should disgust patriotic Americans. But that wasn’t even the most offensive thing Trump did during Saturday’s private donor lunch at his club at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump launched a profanity-filled tirade in which he declared — despicably — that President Joe Biden was running a “Gestapo government,” invoking the name of the infamous Nazi political police who, as the Holocaust Encyclopedia explains, are infamous for “organized deportations of Jews’. from all over Europe to ghettos, concentration camps, murder sites and killing centers.”

Trump’s objectionable comment, made to a room full of individuals who had donated $40,000 or more to the Republican National Committee, was part of a 90-minute speech in which he grumbled indignantly about having been charged with 88 crimes in four different jurisdictions – something he often does publicly and loudly. Prosecutors at his current trial in New York City allege the former president was at the center of what they have called an elaborate “election fraud” that covered up the payment of hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump denies the accusations.

It’s difficult to catalog all the ways in which comparing the current administration to the brutal Gestapo is so deeply offensive and so misguided, including the casual language invoking Nazis — something Trump does all too often.

First, it trivializes the history of the Holocaust and the perpetrators of the unspeakable crimes of Adolf Hitler and his followers. On the other hand, there is not a shred of evidence that the current government harbors authoritarian tendencies. But as is so often the case with Trump, he tarnishes the object of his disdain with the shortcomings of which he himself might reasonably be accused.

After all, it was Trump who said he would be a dictator on “day one” of his administration. It is Trump whose actions and statements appear to increasingly appeal to authoritarianism as the presidential campaign continues. And the fact is that there is one major party presidential candidate who has repeatedly invoked Nazi language — and it is not Biden.

In December, Trump sparked a firestorm when he parroted Hitler’s language by describing migrants as “poisoning the blood” of the United States. The month before, Trump described his political opponents as “vermin,” which worried many as that dehumanizing term has anti-Semitic connotations and was used in Nazi rhetoric. Holocaust scholars have pointed to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” manifesto and his speeches in which he called for racial purity and said German blood was being “poisoned” by Jews.

Trump has not apologized for using such language. Instead, he told supporters at a rally in Iowa in December: “I’ve never read ‘Mein Kampf’.” Trump then added that Hitler used the term “poisoning the blood” of the country “in a completely different way.” He then repeated the same dangerous rhetoric about migrants, saying: “They are destroying the blood of the country. They are destroying the fabric of our country and we have to get them out.”

Was there an uproar at Saturday’s event among major GOP donors over Trump’s use of the word “Gestapo” or his Nazi-like language at a time when we are seeing an alarming spike in anti-Semitism in the United States? Have Republican leaders denounced this rhetoric? Not that I have seen, nor do I expect to hear, them publicly criticizing their presumptive presidential candidate and undisputed leader of their party. Not when the past is prologue.

Interestingly, Trump’s celebration of those who carried out the January 6 attack is reminiscent of Hitler’s tactics after his own attempted coup in 1923, known as the Beer Hall Putsch – a thwarted attempt by the would-be dictator and his followers to overthrow the German government by force. state of Bavaria.

Hitler would publicly honor the victims of that failed attempt to seize power by making them martyrs for the cause and publicly celebrating them as heroes. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany ten years later in 1933, where one of the first orders of business was the formation of the Gestapo, the German secret police, led by his loyal assistant Hermann Göring.

At the GOP event Saturday, Trump offered anyone who would donate $1 million the chance to speak on stage. Three people reportedly took him up on his offer. One of those donors claimed that God chose Trump to lead the country.

And as the former president spoke Saturday, RNC co-chairman his daughter-in-law Lara Trump presented Trump with a plaque commemorating the success of the attackers’ Jan. 6 song on the Billboard charts. Last week, Time magazine published an interview in which Trump again praised the January 6 attackers, some of whom brutally beat police officers, as “patriots” and promised that if re-elected he would consider pardoning those still in prison for that attack. .

All of this makes me wonder again: who is the presidential candidate who loves democracy and our Constitution, and who wants to drag us back to dark and dangerous times?

The CNN Wire
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