WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Friday defended his recent remarks about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of America, saying he never knew it was the language used by Hitler.
Trump’s assertion that he didn’t know Hitler used similar phrasing in his manifesto, “Mein Kampf,” came after the former president made the comments last weekend, drawing comparisons to the genocidal Nazi dictator — and then repeated the term several more times.
Trump’s Denial of Intent and Racist Sentiment
In an interview Friday, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if he used “poisoning the blood” in the same way Hitler meant it — that Jewish blood cannot be part of German blood.
“No, and I never knew that Hitler said it, either, by the way,” Donald said. “And I never read ‘Mein Kampf.’ They said I read ‘Mein Kampf.’ These are people that are disinformation, horrible people that we’re dealing with. I never read ‘Mein Kampf,'” the former president added.
Asked whether he intended the term to have a racist sentiment, Trump said, “Dear, no.”
“First of all, I know nothing about Hitler. I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works,” Donald added. “They say that he said something about blood. He didn’t say it the way I said it, either, by the way, it’s a very different kind of a statement.”
Trump then continued to use the term during the interview with Hewitt, saying it means a certain group of people is ruining the country — echoing how Hitler used the term when speaking about Jews.
“They are poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump said about immigrants. “And I’m not talking about a specific group, and I never read ‘Mein Kampf,’ and I have no idea what Hitler said other than I’ve seen on the news. And that’s a very entirely different thing than what I’m saying. They’re pouring, they’re destroying our country. They’re coming in from every continent, and we have no idea, we have no idea who they are, what they represent. Are they from jails? Are they from prisons? And I will tell you, a big percentage of the people coming in are from prisons and from mental institutions and are terrorists. And we cannot let that … and that is poisoning our country.”
Reached for clarification on the similarities between Trump and Hitler’s uses of the term, Trump’s campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said, “President Donald made clear he was talking about the terrorists, criminals, and people from insane asylums crossing the border, which is true since individuals on the terror watchlist and members of transnational gangs have illegally crossed.”
Continued Use of Controversial Term
Trump made similar comments in late September during an interview with a right-leaning website, The National Pulse. But when he again used the term at a campaign event in New Hampshire last weekend, it received more attention and backlash. His opponents quickly compared his remarks to Hitler’s, but Trump used the term again at a campaign event in Iowa a few days later.
He then said it again in a video statement posted to his Truth Social account on Thursday: “Illegal immigration is poisoning the blood of our nation. They’re coming from prisons, from mental institutions, from all over the world. Without borders and fair elections, you don’t have a country. Make America great again. We must win in 2024 or we will not have a nation. Thank you.”
Historical Reference to Trump’s Knowledge of Hitler
While Trump says he never read Hitler’s manifesto or other writings, a story published in the September 1990 issue of Vanity Fair reported that Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump said he kept an anthology of the Nazi dictator’s speeches in a cabinet by his bed.
Donald told the publication it was his “friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” Davis told Vanity Fair that he did give Trump a book about Hitler, the anthology of speeches, titled “My New Order,” because he thought Donald would find it “interesting.” He also said he is not Jewish.
“If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them,” Trump told the publication.