This 1999 op-ed by Trump attacking Pat Buchanan’s racism is like something from a parallel universe
Donald Trump speaks to NBC's "Today Show" (screen grab)

The 2016 presidential election has been the strangest one in memory.

And it's even stranger when you consider that at one time Donald Trump wrote an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times where he denounced former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan for the kind of racism Trump has deployed in his own campaign.

The op-ed, which was written in 1999, starts out by denouncing a book that Buchanan had published that claimed America's fight against Germany in World War II was "unnecessary."

"Buchanan winks at barbarism in his new book," Trump wrote. "There is no other way to describe his views. Buchanan argues that we should have ignored Hitler's rampage to Eastern Europe during World War II. Hitler meant us no harm, Buchanan says. The same man who argued forcefully -- and in my opinion correctly -- that we should not give an inch during the Cold War is now saying in effect that Hitler should have been appeased."

But where things get really, really weird is when Trump goes after Buchanan for scapegoating racial, religious and ethnic minorities during his two runs for the presidency.

"Buchanan has enjoyed a long psychic friendship with Hitler, whom he has called 'an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier and a leader steeped in the history of Europe,'" Trump wrote. "He also warns his followers that the United States is controlled by Jews, especially regarding foreign policy. On slow days, he attacks gays, immigrants, welfare recipients, even Zulus. When cornered, he says he's misunderstood."

Someone who makes attacking immigrants and religious minorities a central part of his campaign, why does that sound familiar?

Oh right: It's exactly what Trump has been doing for the last year.

"Buchanan is rewriting history and spreading fear for one purpose: To gain political power," Trump wrote toward the end of his piece. "That makes him a very dangerous man."

It does indeed.