NBC Historian Beschloss: I’m Not Saying Trump Is Hitler—But He’s Hitler

Trump = Hitler is the political catnip that liberals just can’t stay away from.

Examples abound, including this item from 2019 quoting MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch warning that if Trump were re-elected, another Holocaust could happen. And Joe Scarborough describing a Trump rally as a “Nuremberg” rally, and suggesting that things are beginning to “look like Germany in 1933.”

On Monday’s Morning Joe, MSNBC historian Michael Beschloss, commenting on Trump’s rally in Texas over the weekend, became the latest liberal to pencil-draw the little mustache on Trump. While piously prefacing his remarks by proclaiming that Trump isn’t Hitler, he proceeded to analogize the former president to the Nazi.

Beschloss went off on a historical tangent, describing how Hitler said that he would eschew anti-semitism if appointed chancellor, and govern “constitutionally.”  Beschloss even noted the coincidence that Trump’s Texas rally took place on the same day, January 30th, that Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933:

Donald Trump is no Adolf Hitler. No one is an Adolf Hitler, who is in a category of evil all his own. But, yesterday, in 1933 on that day, that’s the day that Adolf Hitler came to power.

Sinister coincidence? Beschloss seemed to suggest so! In fact, Trump’s rally was actually on January 29th. But close enough for Beschloss’s smear.

Beschloss claimed that Trump’s remarks at the Texas rally constituted “fascism” and “authoritarianism.” He concluded his spiel by accusing Trump of “threatening violence,” ominously warning that Trump’s Texas remarks were “a preview of coming attractions. When an autocrat speaks, listen.” 

If Beschloss truly didn’t want viewers to see Trump as Hitler Redux, why raise the specter of the Nazi dictator? It’s akin to what the Wall Street Journal‘s great editorialist James Taranto used to note in his Best of the Web column: the rhetorical trick called “apophasis.” It’s the art of mentioning something by saying you’re not going to mention it. Here, it was Beschloss in essence saying, “it would be wrong of me to call Trump Hitler, but…”

On Morning Joe, MSNBC historian Michael Beschloss analogizing Trump to Hitler was sponsored in part by Neutrogena, IHOP, Farmers Insurance, and AT&T.

Here’s the transcript.

MSNBC
Morning Joe
1/31/22
6:22 am ET

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And author, and NBC News presidential historian, Michael Beschloss. It’s good to have you all with us this morning. Michael, I would like to start with you. Kind of broad look at the Trump rally in the middle of the, or in the beginning, the first year of the Biden presidency. What do you make of this, in terms of this former president’s reach? And are Republicans going to be pushed to have to make a decision? 

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: I think they are. And Mika, could you have imagined a year ago that we would have to be sitting here this morning, talking about a speech by Donald Trump nearly one year, or more than one year, into Joe Biden’s presidency? 

This was garden variety. You know, you guys were using the word fascism. It was fascism. This is authoritarianism. This is what authoritarians and autocrats do. They call for violence, they want to wreck institutions, they lie. 

Donald Trump is no Adolf Hitler. No one is an Adolf Hitler, who is in a category of evil all his own. But, yesterday, in 1933 on that day, that’s the day that Adolf Hitler came to power. And he came to power in Germany. He was handed the job of chancellor formally and officially by President Hindenburg, who said that Hitler will behave. And Hitler said, you make me chancellor, I will steer clear of anti-semitism. He actually said it. He said, I will govern sanely, I will govern constitutionally. All these things are lies. You can’t believe a word. 

So all I’m saying, Mika and Joe, is that if you’ve got Donald Trump, even before a potential run for president in 2024, already dangling pardons in front of participants in January 6th who could get into trouble, trying to get them on his side to make sure they don’t say anything that incriminates him, and threatening violence, that’s an idea — that’s a preview of coming attractions. When an autocrat speaks, listen.

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