While he was in Europe in 2018 for a commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, former President Donald Trump stunned his then-chief of staff, John Kelly, by defending Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, remarking, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
That startling revelation (and others) can be found in a new book from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender entitled Frankly, We Did Win This Election.
The Guardian, which has obtained an advance copy of Bender’s book, notes:
“Bender reports that Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly ‘reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict’ and ‘connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities.'”
And yet despite being taken to task by Kelly, Trump continued to maintain his admiration for what he said Hitler had accomplished:
“Bender says unnamed sources reported that Kelly ‘told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred,’ emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.
“’Kelly pushed back again,’ Bender writes, ‘and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.’
“Bender adds that Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, ‘you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.'”
Kelly also believed that Trump had a “stunning disregard for history,” including the history of the country he had been elected to lead:
“Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to nonexistent. But Trump’s indifference to Black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed.”
This isn’t the first time it’s been reported that Trump admires Hitler.
A 1990 interview with Trump’s first wife, Ivana, Vanity Fair reported:
“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 … Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.”
Trump’s admiration of Hitler shouldn’t surprise anyone who has listened to the former president over the past couple of years. He has repeatedly attacked people of color and even made anti-Semitic remarks while speaking to American Jews in 2015, when he told them:
“You’re not gonna support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israe. And I’ll be that. And I know why you’re not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?”
Featured Image Via the White House