Trump’s Staff Told Him to Praise Mussolini So He Would Stop Praising Hitler 

This isn’t shocking, but it is deeply annoying that former Trump officials will sit on damning information that’s pertinent to the public in order to eventually sell books.

Trump’s Staff Told Him to Praise Mussolini So He Would Stop Praising Hitler 

It’s universally understood (or at least should be) that you do not, under any circumstance, have to hand it to Hitler. Former President Donald Trump apparently either did not receive or did not care about that memo and according to his former chief of staff John Kelly, Trump had a list of good things to say about the late Nazi leader, who there is very obviously nothing good to say about!

In Jim Sicutto’s The Return of Great Powers, a reported book about the Trump administration out this week, Kelly and other former Trump advisers recall how Trump frequently praised authoritarian leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (who he called “fantastic”), Chinese President Xi Jinping (who he called “brilliant”), and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (who he called an “OK guy”). According to Kelly, who served as chief of staff from 2017 to 2019, Trump also at one point said, “Well, but Hitler did some good things.” When Kelly asked Trump what he was referring to, the former president allegedly replied, “Well, [Hitler] rebuilt the economy.”

Sicutto also writes that, according to Kelly, Trump praised Hitler for his ability to inspire the absolute loyalty of Nazi officials. “I said, ‘Sir, you can never say anything good about the guy. Nothing,’” Kelly told Sciutto. So, to wean Trump off praising Hitler, Kelly recalled telling him, “I mean, [Benito] Mussolini was a great guy in comparison.”

For those who might have slept through this chapter of world history, Mussolini was a dictator and the founder and leader of the National Fascist Party (name sort of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?) in the years leading up to World War II. I’ll grant you that Mussolini wasn’t the leader of Nazi Germany but if we’re splitting hairs over who was and wasn’t an acceptable dictator, surely we’ve lost the plot???

All of this is… bad, though it’s not new. Trump has long made wildly inappropriate comments and expressed awe and admiration toward fascist leaders. So, unless you were born yesterday, this isn’t all that shocking. All I can actually take away from these new tidbits is that once again, it’s deeply annoying that former Trump officials and some journalists will sit on damning information that’s pertinent to the public—sometimes for years—in order to sell books. And… I’m also still sitting with the fact that Kelly and Trump basically engaged in the viral, toxic “Would you vote for 99% Hitler or 100% Hitler” meme from November a whole four, five years early. Wow!

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