I’m going to try and tread carefully here: I’m well aware of Godwin’s Law and I don’t want to directly say that Donald Trump is definitely a Nazi, or Hitler-like, or has any connection to white supremacy groups. I don’t believe he really does. But we’re quickly approaching the point where Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign identifies more with Nazism than Republican politics, and at a certain point, it becomes a little too easy to draw a straight line between Trump and, well, Adolf Hitler.
People love to refer to Donald Trump as an outsider; a figure who doesn’t fit into the mold of the Republican norm. That his presidential campaign, which has consistently led the GOP field and has completely defined so much of the 2016 Republican primary thus far, is an anomaly, given how he doesn’t really fit into any conventional political grouping.
But there’s one group Trump does seem to identify with quite regularly, and he’s gone so far as to share their material from time to time, though inadvertently: white supremacists and the modern Nazi party. And at some point, the links surpass any sensible use of the word “occasional,” and begin to form a serious web. A Charlotte’s web, to be precise… one that only ever seems to display hate speech.
Donald Trump’s Surface Bigotry Is Undeniable…
On the surface, we have the obvious, undeniable parallels with Nazism that everyone knows about already; Donald Trump’s unwavering, unabashed hatred of anyone and everyone that isn’t a white male. He announced his presidential bid with a speech in which he declared, quite literally and directly, that Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists. When you launch your campaign with hate speech right out of the starting gate, that’s not usually a good sign.
Since then, Trump has been a steady, seemingly limitless spout of hatred and ignorance, and can’t discuss people of any race without offending millions of people. Just this past weekend, a black man was physically assaulted during a Trump rally in Alabama, with witnesses saying he was punched, kicked, and choked while being “escorted” out of the event, all while the crowd ignorantly chanted “all lives matter!” Trump later claimed the protester was “a trouble-maker who was looking to make trouble,” and that he deserved to get “roughed up.”
But that event is just the tip of the racially-ignorant iceberg, one that we can only hope will inevitably sink Trump’s presidential aspirations. His recent comments about forcing Muslims to be registered in some kind of database, which conjured up images of Nazi Germany for many Americans, echoed his controversial comments from September, in which he essentially suggested he would somehow get rid of Muslims altogether during a New Hampshire rally.
His responses to all of these controversies are part and parcel with how Republicans always react to scandals these days; it’s not their fault they said stupid nonsense, it’s our fault and the evil leftist media’s fault for not understanding what they were trying to say! How incredibly racist of us, to give a struggling white billionaire a hard time over his intolerance of people of other races and faiths!
… But Then We Scratch That Surface
Back in August, it was re-revealed that in a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Trump’s then-wife Ivana had claimed that Trump kept a book of Hitler quotes next to his bed, a book which Trump himself had, at the time, confused with Hitler’s Mein Kampf. That same interview revealed that one of his employees would openly say “heil Hitler” to Trump as a sort of informal greeting.
And then we have Trump’s official Twitter account, which has brushed up against Nazism rather directly more than once. Yesterday, Trump shared a blatantly racist image with completely falsified homicide statistics. The source of that image? A neo-Nazi Twitter user with a swastika avatar, one that signifies membership in a known hate group. And back in July, Trump shared another pro-Nazi image, this one depicting Nazi soldiers on the march.
How Many Accidents Equal Intention?
A Donald Trump supporter might write off any of these things as accidental. Maybe his sharing Nazi propaganda was a mistake. Maybe Trump didn’t really mean to suggest we eliminate all Muslims, or that he didn’t really want to create a national database for them. Maybe he didn’t honestly intend to imply that all Mexicans are criminals, or that black protesters deserve to be met with violence. Maybe he did have a legitimate excuse to be a birther nut. Maybe one of those things, or two even, were just a case of poorly-chosen words or some other honest, innocent mistake.
But at some point, all of those mistakes begin to amalgamate, and a pattern begins to emerge, and we find ourselves asking not for an apology, but for clarification. Where we stop asking how a person can make so many mistakes, and we start to wonder if there’s genuine hatred there, brewing in plain sight, for all to see. The point where Donald Trump is no longer considered the victim of his own lack of a filter, but that thing we’ve all joked about since day one: a Nazi, plain as day, and as undeniable as undeniable gets.