Trump borrows from the language of Hitler for anti-immigration speech in New Hampshire

As leaders in Washington negotiate a bipartisan immigration deal, former President Donald Trump used inflammatory language to demonize immigrants during a Saturday campaign speech in New Hampshire that echoed Adolf Hitler.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in next year’s election, said that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” He pledged to toughen immigration laws, including by reinstating a travel ban from “terror-plagued countries” and requiring “strong ideological screening” for immigrants in the country without authorization.

“They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” he told his supporters in Durham, New Hampshire, referring to immigrants.

“That’s what they’ve done. They’ve poisoned mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just the three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world. They’re coming into our country, from Africa, from Asia, all over the world. Nobody’s even looking at it.”

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Hitler used similar language about Jews “poison[ing] the blood of others,” in “Mein Kampf,” his 1925 manifesto.

Trump also praised authoritarian leaders in other countries, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he called “very nice” and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whom he called “highly respected.” And he endorsed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s criticism of President Joe Biden.

New Hampshire’s primary is Jan. 23, following the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15. Trump leads in polling in both states.

In a written statement, Biden’s reelection campaign said Trump “channeled” past and present dictators.

“Tonight Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy,” campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a written statement.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

Trump’s remarks came as U.S. Senate leaders and the White House seek to work out an agreement on changes to immigration policy as part of a larger deal that includes a $100 billion supplemental request to fund aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and U.S. border security.

‘Dog-whistling’

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is running in the GOP primary on an anti-Trump platform, called the comments “disgusting” during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

“He’s disgusting,” Christie said. “And what he’s doing is dog-whistling to Americans who feel absolutely under stress and strain from the economy and the conflicts across the world. He’s dog-whistling to blame it on people from areas that don’t look like us.”

Christie added that leading Republicans who continued to support Trump were complicit. He noted that almost 100 members of Congress have endorsed Trump and that presidential rival Nikki Haley of South Carolina called Trump fit to be president.

“Nikki Haley should be ashamed of herself,” he said. “She’s part of the problem because she’s enabling him.”

The Haley campaign did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Authoritarian rhetoric

Trump has consistently degraded immigrants since his entrance into national politics in the 2016 presidential race and it continues to be among his most prominent themes as the campaign intensifies heading into 2024.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and issued an executive order a week after entering office to block travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

The executive order, and a successor, framed the policy as a national security issue in response to terror threats, but federal courts still blocked it for violating religious freedoms and other civil liberties. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld parts of the order, but Biden revoked it in full on his first day in office.

In recent weeks, Trump has made a string of comments that suggest he sees himself as an authoritarian leader.

In a November speech, he described his political opponents as “vermin,” another term used by Hitler and his World War II ally Benito Mussolini of Italy.

And in a Fox News town hall this month, Trump responded to a request to dispel fears he would be a dictator in a second term by saying he would be a dictator only on his first day in office to take measures to control the border and expand fossil fuel development.

He emphasized that pledge Saturday.

“My first day back at the White House, I will terminate every open-borders policy of the Biden administration, stop the invasion of our Southern border and begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” he said.

Republicans often use the word “invasion” to characterize the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seen an increase in encounters with migrants at the U.S. Southern border, according to its data. In fiscal year 2022, there were nearly 2.4 million encounters with migrants, and in fiscal year 2023, which ended on Oct. 1, there were nearly 2.5 million encounters with migrants at the Southern border.

Trump’s rhetoric throughout Saturday’s speech cast the former president as the leader of a “righteous crusade.”

“This is the greatest political movement in the history of our country, it really is,” he said. “We’re engaged in a righteous crusade to liberate this nation from a corrupt political class that is waging war on American democracy like never before.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” he continued. “If you put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again. We are not a free nation.”

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