Pundits on both sides of the aisle have drawn parallels between President Donald Trump’s controversial family separation policy and detention of child migrants and Nazi concentration camps — but this is far from the first time the president or his aides have flirted with genocide.
Whether on the campaign trail or from the Oval Office, Trump has for years now echoed the racist rhetoric of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi ilk when it comes to people who immigrate to America or stand in the way of his rise to power.
Below are nine examples of times candidate and President Trump and his top staffers and surrogates have employed Nazi-esque rhetoric to justify his policies.
1. Calls for a Muslim “database” or “watchlist.”
In November 2015, then-Republican presidential candidate Trump made international headlines when he claimed he would “certainly” implement a database or registry that tracks Muslims in the United States. After his comments drew immediate backlash, he clarified in a tweet that he was more interested in a “watch list” and “surveillance” of Muslims.
I didn't suggest a database-a reporter did. We must defeat Islamic terrorism & have surveillance, including a watch list, to protect America
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2015
In 1938, the Nazi German government began requiring Jews with “non-Jewish names” to add either “Israel” (for men) or “Sarah” (for women) to their names to immediately mark them as Jewish — a precursor to the yellow stars they were soon required to wear. In addition, Jews were required to carry identification cards that marked their heritage, and all Jewish passports were stamped with a large “J.”
2. His “America First” slogan that was used by American Nazi sympathizers.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
After he’d all-but-secured the Republican nomination in the summer of 2016, Trump unveiled a new campaign slogan that paralleled his “Make America Great Again” brand by tweeting and later saying in speeches that he wants to put “America first.”
The “America First” motto, however, has a sordid history in the United States. Prominent isolationists (and later Nazi sympathizers) founded the “America First Committee” to decry U.S. participation in what was to become World War II. Chief among them was “Spirit of St. Louis” pilot Charles Lindbergh, who later accepted a medal from ranking Nazi official Hermann Goering on behalf of Fuhrer Hitler.