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Donald Trump’s Reported Praise of Adolf Hitler Is a Good Reminder of What He Values in a Leader

It seems the Trump tell-all books just keep coming, and with each comes another peek inside the mind of our 45th POTUS, as seen by those who were uniquely able to observe him up close. Author Michael Wolff of upcoming Landslide and Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender of upcoming Frankly, We Did Win This Election”: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost have both interviewed Trump since he left the White House, but their biggest bombshells thus far have been anecdotes from the presidency itself, like Wolff’s report of Trump’s questions about Jeffrey Epstein ex Ghislaine Maxwell — or Bender’s report, newly excerpted in The Guardian, that Trump once praised Adolf Hitler to former chief of staff John Kelly on a trip to Europe, doubling down on his point when pushed and citing improvements to the German economy under Hitler as proof.

Per The Guardian’s excerpt, Trump gave this memorable praise on a trip to Europe for the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, in the midst of retired US Marine Corps general John Kelly giving a debriefing in which he “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities.”

Trump’s response? “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”

Bender writes that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred,” citing German economic recovery in the 1930s as Hitler rose to power. Kelly then reportedly “pushed back again,” arguing “that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”

Donald Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington offered the following statement to The Guardian on Bender’s report: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.”

Bender says that unnamed sources have backed up his reports, and says that Kelly ended the conversation by attempting to put things in black-and-white terms, saying: “You cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Trump emphasizing the economy above all else is unsurprising; he has long touted himself as having a similarly positive effect on the U.S. economy. But this report is a frightening look at just how much tunnel-vision Trump — and others — may get when they prioritize the economy above all else, including, as Kelly helpfully mentioned, genocide.

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