Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) took to CNN on Wednesday to compare President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Perhaps unbeknownst to him, he was echoing the North Korean government in doing so. Clyburn said Germany did not become Nazi until enough people were influenced by Hitler, after Hitler was elected.
“We remember from our studies what happened in the 1930s in Germany,” Clyburn began. He recalled telling a business group in Hilton Head, S.C., after the election that “what I saw coming was a replay of what happened in Nazi Germany.”
“The fact of the matter is Hitler was elected as chancellor of Germany,” Clyburn noted. “He did not become a dictator until later, when people began to be influenced by his foolishness. We just elected a president and he’s got a lot of foolishness going on, and I’m afraid too many people are being influenced by that foolishness.”
When Clyburn referred to “foolishness,” he likely meant to say “abject racism.” The problem is, by any count, Trump’s “foolishness” is not nearly so extreme as Hitler’s “foolishness.”
The Trump-Hitler comparison has gained a great deal of traction on the Left since last November, with no less a figure than Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling attacking people for refusing to adopt the comparison. Germans, however, tend to be more reluctant on the Hitler comparisons, and for good reason.
While the white supremacists whose protests in Charlottesville turned violent over the weekend did look to Trump for inspiration, the self-identified neo-Nazis also attacked Trump. As Vice News captured on camera, one neo-Nazi harshly criticized the president — for allowing his daughter to marry a Jew!
Although Hitler and Trump share some characteristics — both ran on the Right of the political spectrum, both were nationalists — their differences far outweigh any similarities. Trump is anything but an anti-Semite, as the neo-Nazis themselves pointed out.
The historical setting is also immensely different. When Hitler rose to power, Germany had been forced to get rid of its old form of government after a defeat in World War I. The people felt betrayed by the surrender, because German propaganda had insisted they could win the war.
In America today, however, the U.S. Constitution has a glorious history, and was not foisted upon the country after a loss in war. Some people feel betrayed by their government, but few if any tie that to a specific ethnic group — they tie it to the reigning liberal ideology instead.
On Monday, filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza tackled the argument. First, he noted that Trump’s immigration issue is “between legal immigrants and illegals … not a racial distinction at all. … Trump has never said — not even implied — that we wants to see legal immigration be more white.” Similarly, the much-touted “Muslim Ban” applied to countries of terror concern, and only a fraction of the Muslim-majority countries in the world.
D’Souza concluded that there is “simply no valid analogy here between Trump and Hitler on this racial point at all.”
Trump is not Hitler, and Clyburn joined a strange bedfellow in voicing such an idea. None other than the government of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un has also compared Trump to Hitler.
“The ‘American-first principle’ … advocates the world domination by recourse to military means just as was the case with Hitler’s concept of world occupation,” alleged an article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday (as translated by The Japan Times). “The American version of Nazism [is] far surpassing the fascism in the last century in its ferocious, brutal and chauvinistic nature.”
Even Newsweek‘s Jason La Miere characterized these as “wild charges,” and it is indeed absurd to compare Trump — who campaigned on withdrawing America from global trade deals and on limiting foreign involvement — to Hitler in terms of ambitions for world conquest. As anyone vaguely familiar with the 2016 campaign knows, “America First” does not mean “America should conquer the world,” but rather that “the U.S. should tend to the needs of America first, over those of other countries.”
So yes, Democrat James Clyburn was echoing Kim Jong Un talking points on Wednesday. Did he even know it?