Top House Dem: Trump 'Would be Mussolini and Putin Would be Hitler'

The third-ranking Democrat in the House said Monday said that if one was comparing America today to Europe before World War II, "this president would be Mussolini and Putin would be Hitler."

"Having studied history and having taught history, I can only equate one period of time with what we experience now, and that was what was going on in Germany around 1934 right after the 1932 elections when Adolph Hitler was elected chancellor," Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN. "He began to do things to discredit the media, to disrupt the judicial system, and if you recall from your studies, they had swastikas hanging in churches all over Germany."

"And when I see and hear, and experience what's going on in the country today, I think back to that time, and I really believe that we as Americans had better get a handle on things," he added. "If we don't, we could very well see ourselves going the way of Germany."

Clyburn appeared with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) -- to discuss race in America under the current administration. Some CBC members plan on boycotting President Trump's first State of the Union address tonight.

Richmond said the president's first year "has not been friendly to African-Americans," and caucus members will "either boycott or will sit together in solidarity and stare down what we believe is inequality and injustice and racism."

Fudge said she plans on attending "because I do, in fact, respect the office of the president -- I am a patriot, unlike many of my colleagues."

"Because if they ever decide to put patriotism over party, they would be doing some of the same things that we're doing and seeing and saying some of the same things we are," she added. "It wasn't a tough decision for me. I don't respect the president, but I respect the office."

Fudge said that, conversely, she doesn't think Trump respects the office of the president as she sees "the dumbing down of the presidency of the United States -- he is the least prepared, the least educated, the least knowledgeable and the least honest."

Richmond said he doesn't believe Trump cares about African-Americans "if you listen to his words or if you watch his actions."

"Let's just take some numbers. He's appointed or nominated one black federal judge. He's nominated one black U.S. attorney and when you start talking about the criminal justice system, that's a key area for African-American men," he said. "...Part of what's in his head is he does what Kelly and Stephen Miller tells him to do, and that's why we see the racism coming out in this immigration overhaul."

"We could just use his words," the CBC chairman added. "He wants more people from Norway as opposed to Africa or El Salvador."

Asked about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) statement that Trump wants to "make America white again," Clyburn replied, "Well, he said that. That's what the Norway thing is all about. You cannot get away from that. And for him to refer to the countries on the continent of Africa, when you disparage our entire continent, you go after a country like Haiti, any one of us who really know the history of this country, you would know how indebted this country is to the country of Haiti. In fact, you're from Louisiana. And so I think, my Lord, Haiti. If but for Haiti, I don't know if we would have gotten the Louisiana part."

Clyburn said that while black unemployment is currently low, "black underemployment is extremely high."

"That's why we have this big growing gap in income inequality," he added. "If you look at employment as the sole measure, then you have to say sharecropper is employment. But it is the kind of employment that would keep you busy without paying you much. And so, that's what's going on in the country today and we know it."