For most leaders, being compared to Adolf Hitler would be cause for some concern and self-examination. But if President-elect Donald Trump has demonstrated anything since his time in the political sphere began, it's that he is decidedly not most leaders. On Tuesday, during an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Trump said that being compared to Hitler didn't phase him. Yes, it's time to start feeling terrified (if you haven't already). Trump's representatives did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
During the Good Morning America interview, Stephanopoulos mentioned that Trump was being "increasingly compared to Hitler," asking, "Does that give you any pause at all?" Trump replied,
No, because what I am doing is no different than what FDR — FDR's solution for Germans, Italians, Japanese, you know, many years ago.
When Stephanopoulos asked if that meant Trump was advocating for internment camps, the president-elect didn't give a clear answer, saying at first that he was not praising the Japanese internment camps during World War II, but then saying that "we are now at war," "they named highways after [President Franklin Delano Roosevelt]," and, regarding policies like internment camps, "It's a temporary measure until our representatives, many of whom are grossly incompetent, until our representatives can figure out what's going on."
(A reminder that, under President Ronald Reagan, America issued a formal apology to the Japanese-Americans interned during the war, and compensated them for the gross violation of their civil rights.)
The Trump/Hitler comparisons have been happening for a while now, and they reached an increased frequency after Trump's election, when a group of white supremacists (aka the so-called "alt-right") held a conference in a government building where they shouted "Hail Trump" and gave the Nazi salute.
Most recently, Trump's name has been linked with that of the German dictator who was responsible for the slaughter of six million Jews because TIME named Trump 2016's Person of the Year. Trump critics were quick to point out that the "award" wasn't necessarily a good thing. Hitler had received the same (dubious?) honor back in 1938.
And while in some ways the comparisons to Hitler may be overblown, Trump's blanket dismissal of them is part of a troubling pattern in which he cannot seem to take any criticism, whether it's from Saturday Night Live, from a union leader who questioned Trump's (false) claims about the Carrier jobs, or from a female college student who said she didn't think Trump was a "friend to women." In all of these cases, Trump responded by attacking the shows or people in question on his Twitter account, leading to extreme online harassment. Trump has not responded to Romper's request for comment regarding why he hasn't condemned the violent rhetoric of some of his supporters.
Criticism does not cause Trump to reevaluate his actions or words, or to think more carefully before he tweets. And that is a terrifying quality to have in a leader.