I Don’t Think that Means What he Thinks it Means

Trump on peaceful transfers (and Hitler).

Via Politico: Trump vows a peaceful transfer of power if reelected.

“Of course,” Trump responded to Hewitt when asked if he would hand over power peacefully if reelected. “And I did that this time. And I’ll tell you what. The election was rigged, and we have plenty of evidence of it. But I did it anyway.”

You know, apart from leading an insurrection, it was peaceful.

Not to mention that it is oh so very charitable of him to concede that he would leave peacefully at the end of his constitutionally mandated two-term limit when he would be 82 years of age.

I do believe him here:

But Trump maintained Friday that he’s not a student of Hitler, and he’s never read “Mein Kampf,” the manifesto written by Hitler.

There is little evidence that Trump reads, and therefore I can fully accept the has not read Mein Kampf, it isn’t exactly the most readable of books. Do I think that he has been influenced by ideas that resonate with the contents of Mein Kampf? That much is clearly true based on his own words multiple times over the years, especially of late.

Note that one need not be a “student of Hitler” to be a fascist or to spout eliminationist rhetoric.

Also, here is some pretzel logic:

“First of all, I know nothing about Hitler,” Trump said Friday. “I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works. 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.”

Query: if he knows nothing (cue Sergeant Schultz) about Hitler, how can he know that his statement is so very different than Hitler’s?

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kathy says:

    Adolph might have read Mein Kampf for Dummies, but found it well above his intellectual level. He wont read the “for Morons” version because he’s afraid that, too, will go over his head.

  2. charontwo says:

    Within the past few days here at OTB I posted this from Vanity Fair, September 1990 issue.

    Not that Trump would recall considering the senile dementia thingy.

    Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke.

    Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

    “Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

    Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

    “I don’t remember,” I said.

    “Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

    Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

    Is Ivana trying to convince her friends and lawyer that Trump is a crypto-Nazi? Trump is no reader or history buff. Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda. The Führer often described his defeats at Stalingrad and in North Africa as great victories. Trump continues to endow his diminishing world with significance as well. “There’s nobody that has the cash flow that I have,” he told The Wall Street Journal long after he knew better. “I want to be king of cash.”

    Fred Trump, like his son, has never resisted exaggeration. When Donald was a child, his father bought a house that “had nine bathrooms and columns like Tara,” Fred Trump said. The house, however, was in Queens. Donald would someday envision a larger world. It was Donald’s mother, Mary, who revered luxury. “My mother had a sense of the grand,” Trump told me. “I can remember her watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and being so fascinated by it. My father had no interest in that kind of thing at all.”



  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: You beat me to it.

  4. Gustopher says:

    He’s either read Hitler, watched a lot of documentaries about Hitler, or he’s channeling Hitler from beyond the grave.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    I imagine you’ll find Stephen Miller in the pipeline. Pretty sure he’s memorized Mein Kampf – in the original spittle-flecked German.

  6. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Miller confounds me. He’s a JEW, ffs.

  7. Don’t get me wrong–he is channeling Hitler. I just don’t think he reads or is a “student” of anything.

  8. @Michael Reynolds: THAT I would believe.

  9. @charontwo: I am sure he owns the book. I just doubt he read it.

  10. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Someone gave him a set of coasters for his birthday with excerpts from Hitler’s “greatest” speeches, and he read a new one whenever he had a diet Coke. Prove I’m wrong.

  11. Ken_L says:

    It would not surprise me if his vile father used to harangue the family with Hitler’s Greatest Hits over the dinner table. And yes, Hitler was fixated on keeping the Aryan race’s blood pure, which is totally different to the way Trump uses the expression.

  12. Scott O says:

    “He didn’t say it the way I said it, either, by the way”

    He’s right, Hitler said it in German.

    I’m living in a country where he could be the president again. Scary.

  13. Richard Gardner says:

    OMG, Hitler. I think I might have a copy on “My Struggle” in a box of similar unread books bought at a library book sale 40 years ago. The only crazy book I tried to get was “The Turner Diaries,” just to figure out what the crazies were talking about. I went into my huge local used book store asking for it, nope. I left with some long meandering tales of murder and mayhem instead.
    The idea Trump actually read Mein Kampf is ludicrous. And guess what, not every single word out of Hitler’s mouth was bad (ditto Stalin and Mao – my, it is a nice day today… (if Hitler said it, there can never be any nice days by this reckoning). Made up controversy. It is the overall that matters, not a few sound clips.
    I’m certainly not a Trump fan (nor any NYC area politician to include Christie) but seriously, Nazi? (self-centered idiot, egotist, ignorant….)

  14. @Richard Gardner:

    And guess what, not every single word out of Hitler’s mouth was bad

    The phrases in question were:

    “We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country,”


    “They let — I think the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country. When they do that, we got a lot of work to do. They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump told the crowd at a rally in New Hampshire. “That’s what they’ve done. They poison mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just to three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world. They’re coming into our country from Africa, from Asia, all over the world.”

    This is pretty fascistic stuff and very much echoes words from Mein Kampf (which I have not read cover-to-cover, but have taught it as part of a political theory class).

    This is not about some casual connection wherein Trump and Hitler both said they like dogs (which, actually, is true of Hitler, but not Trump).

  15. Jen says:

    @Ken_L: Trump’s (truly horrible) father is probably a huge part of what is wrong with the man. By many counts, Trump is fairly obsessed with eugenics, which likely came from his father, as that was a burgeoning theory in the 30s.


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