On the same day that President Trump was attacked by some Jewish-Americans for remarks that echoed those of Hitler and Mussolini in a speech in front of the Jewish Republican Coalition, the White House issued a rebuttal to Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressional representative Beto O’Rourke’s statements making the exact same comparisons during campaign stops in Iowa yesterday.
O’Rourke made his ominous comparison of the president’s tactics in trying to fear-monger his way into achieving public support for his demonic immigration policies by referring to immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals” — as well as “animals” and “an infestation” — with the vilification of Jews as “vermin” by fascist Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.
“Now I might expect someone to describe another human being as an infestation in the Third Reich, but I would not expect it in the United States of America.”#beto #beto2020 #betoforamerica pic.twitter.com/nIbIF4kmjh
— South Dakota for Beto O'Rourke (@SDforBeto) April 5, 2019
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Zeke Miller, a White House Correspondent for the Associated Press, passed along a statement from Trump’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley that attempted to turn around O’Rourke’s comments on the remarkable similarity between the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and that of Third Reich Fuehrer Adolph Hitler and apply them to the Democratic party instead.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) April 6, 2019
As The New York Times political correspondent Alex Burns pointed out in his retweet of Miller’s post, the White House response failed to address the issues that inspired Beto O’Rourke to make the comparisons to begin with.
Remarkably absent from this is any faint defense of what O’Rourke was denouncing, including family separation at the border, Trump’s description of illegal immigrants as violent criminals and his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US https://t.co/apTU29MpYj
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) April 6, 2019
Meanwhile, New York University professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat — an award-winning historian, author, and political commentator on fascism, authoritarian leadership, propaganda, and threats to democracy past and present — criticized President Trump’s remarks in his speech to the Jewish Republican Coalition as inherently anti-Semitic while reminding people of a previous example of the president’s hypocritical actions towards the Jewish community.
This is dangerous, means Jews aren’t really American. Hitler and Mussolini used same reasoning. Recall that Trump’s govt sent out a revisionist Holocaust Remembrance statement- it did not mention Jews. https://t.co/QjhmRA8xZT
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) April 6, 2019
While the president may have taken actions — like the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights — that help curry favor with the evangelical supporters of the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Netanyahu that form an important core of his base, his refusal to denounce his anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi supporters indicates that he is trying to play both sides of the propaganda game.
With Trump’s own words demonstrating a penchant for adopting anti-semitic stereotypes — as well-documented by The Times of Israel — his attacks on Beto O’Rourke and other Democrats like Somali-born Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) ring particularly hollow and hypocritical.
Then again, logic and consistency have never been President Trump’s strong points. Hypocritical attacks and false statements are another story, however.
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Original reporting by Bob Brigham at RawStory.