“Well, Hitler did a lot of wonderful things,” Donald Trump told his then-chief of staff, John Kelly, during a trip to Europe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.
The former US president’s comment on the 2018 trip, which reportedly “stunned” Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general, is detailed in a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
To be honest, we did win. This election has been widely followed in the weeks leading up to its release next week.
Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side throughout the fight” and “tied the connections from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s crimes,” according to Bender.
Bender is one of a number of journalists who have spoken with Trump after his ouster from office.
Trump has denied making the Hitler comment, according to him.
However, according to unidentified sources, Kelly “told the president that he was mistaken, but Trump remained undeterred,” stressing Germany’s economic growth during the 1930s under Hitler.
Kelly pushed back again, arguing that the German people would have been better off destitute than subjected to the Nazi atrocities, according to Bender.
Kelly informed Trump, according to Bender, that even if his assertion about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 was correct, he “could never say anything complimentary of Adolf Hitler. You’re not going to be able to.”
Even beyond his typical disputes with other foreign leaders, Trump had a lot of problems on his centennial trip to Europe.
A decision to postpone a visit to an American cemetery sparked debate. Later reports claimed that Trump referred to American servicemen who died in the war as “losers” and “suckers.”
Kelly departed the White House in early 2019 after his son was murdered in Afghanistan in 2010.
Since then, he has allegedly told pals that the president he served was “the most defective person I have ever encountered in my life.”
Kelly tried his utmost to overcome Trump’s “shocking disdain for history,” according to Bender.
“Senior authorities described his comprehension of slavery, Jim Crow, or the post-civil war Black experience as hazy to nonexistent,” he wrote.
“However, Trump’s contempt for the history of any race, religion, or faith was comparable to his disregard for the history of any race, religion, or creed.”
JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, has apologized for anti-Trump comments that he has subsequently removed.
Concerns about the rise of the far-right in the United States grew during Trump’s presidency and continue to grow as he maintains control of a Republican party determined to obstruct investigations into the deadly 6 January attack on the US Capitol by supporters seeking to overturn his election loss.
Trump has shown support for far-right and white nationalist organizations.
Trump was asked if he will condemn white racists and militia organizations during a presidential debate in 2020. He pondered the question for a while before telling the far-right Proud Boys to “stand back and watch.”
In 2017, the German magazine Stern featured a picture of Trump doing a Nazi salute while draped in the US flag on its cover in the aftermath of a neo-Nazi march in Virginia that drew Trump’s backing.
“Sein kampf” – his battle – was the headline.
- Donald Trump: Carlos Barría/Reuters