By: Joel B. Pollak
The Washington Post published an article Thursday by foreign affairs reporter Amanda Erickson likening President Donald Trump to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler because Hitler “also published a list of crimes committed by groups he didn’t like.”
Erickson’s focus is Trump’s creation of a new office, “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement” (VOICE), to assist and advocate for the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens. Trump elicited groans from the Democrats in his address to Congress Tuesday evening when he described VOICE, and Erickson not only shares their disgust, but amplifies it, writing:
This strategy — one designed to single out a particular group of people, suggesting that there’s something particularly sinister about how they behave — was employed to great effect by Adolf Hitler and his allies. In the 1930s, the Nazis used a similar tactic to stir up anger and hatred toward Jews. Professor Richard Weikart of California State University explained that Nazi leaders used different kinds of communication tools to sell the message that “Jews are criminal by disposition,” as a 1943 Nazi directive to the German press put it. “The Jews are not a nation like other nations but bearers of hereditary criminality,” the order said. Germany, in other words, was out of control, and only Nazi anti-Semitic policies could “restore order.”
It should be obvious — though not, perhaps, to Erickson and her editors at the Post — just how offensive this analogy is. It is also completely false. The Jews of Germany were loyal, legal, and law-abiding citizens when Hitler and the Nazis came to power and imposed a rigid system of racist legislation that led to the Holocaust. Nazi racial ideology presumed that Jews corrupted Germany and other nations by their mere presence, not by anything they had done, collectively or individually.
Moreover, in his speech, Trump did not single out any particular group of illegal aliens, whether by race, religion, or national origin. Trump merely stood up for victims of crimes — victims who are often ignored by politicians and journalists because their suffering is politically inconvenient to Washington’s urgent imperative to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Erickson goes on to recount the grim history of grotesque Nazi propaganda, from “The Eternal Jew” to Der Stürmer and beyond. After several incendiary paragraphs, she attempts to escape her own argument: “The point is not that VOICE equals the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda,” she says. “But when leaders use the levers of government to drum up fear of one group of people, we should all be worried.”
Again: all Trump did on Tuesday was speak out for victims.
The Washington Post has led the way in standing up for the media against President Donald Trump. Under the slogan “Democracy dies in darkness,” it has pushed back against Trump’s claims that the “fake news” media are the “opposition party” and the “enemy of the people.”
But likening Trump to Hitler actually vindicates Trump’s criticism. It encourages readers to hate him — and his supporters — and gives moral sanction to those who would go beyond democratic politics to stop him.