Donald Trump has been often accused of sounding like and/or patterning his speeches after Adolf Hitler, and after delivering his Values Voters Summit speech Friday in Washington, D.C., he’ll likely be accused of paraphrasing Hitler once again. Because inasmuch as many political speeches speak to nationalism and patriotism, and neither Trump nor Hitler are exceptions to the rule (and far from it), 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump seems to have taken a line straight from the Nazi Party slogan “Ein volk, Ein reich, Ein Fuhrer!” (“One people, one empire, one leader!”).
Right Side Broadcasting streamed the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., live on YouTube Friday, September 9, presenting several speakers — such as Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — at the annual conference. The main speaker, of course, was Republican Party nominee for president Donald Trump. He regaled the crowd of Christian voters in his usual bombastic way, but near the end of the speech, Trump seemed to play into the hands of his accusers who claim that not only does Trump remind people of infamous dictators like Italian fascist Benito Mussolini and German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler with his jingoism, blatant nativist nationalism, and over-the-top fact-twisting scapegoating, but he sounds like them as well. He paraphrased the infamous Nazi Party slogan, “Ein volk, ein reich, ein Fuhrer!”
After quoting from the book of John from the Christian bible, Trump spoke to people standing together in the United States. “Imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people, under one god, saluting one flag.”
If one saw the speech, or watches it in replay, Trump begins raising his voice on the first use of the word “one,” emphasizing each part of the verbal triptych. Not only does he invoke the traditional lines from the Pledge of Allegiance, he progresses from, just as the Nazi Party slogan does, “one people” (“ein volk”) to “under one god” (an implied unified Christian nation or “ein reich”) to “one flag” (“ein Fuhrer,” the symbol of a unified nation).
He went on. “It’s time to stop quibbling over the smallest words and start dreaming about the great adventures that lie ahead for our country. This is my promise to all of you: Starting in 2017, we will be one American nation. It’s time to break our ties with the bitter failures of the past and to embrace a new American future. Have to do it. Together we will make America believe again. We will make America united again. And we will make America great again.”
One predominant message in all of Adolf Hitler’s speeches was the insistence that Germany would rise and once again become (or remain, once it re-established itself as a European power during the 1930s) a great world power, a position it had held until World War I and the establishment of the impotent Weimar Republic. Donald Trump, in his ascendancy to becoming the Republican Party nominee, used the same theme to appeal to an anti-establishment, seeming downtrodden and marginalized, and noticeably disaffected electorate. The difference is, unlike Germany in Hitler’s rise to power, the United States is a current world power and has been since roughly the end of the 19th century.
But it’s all in the promise of making a country great again, to unite the people, to appeal to the common nationalistic urges of the people.
And so in the days ahead, there will be those who parse Donald Trump’s words from the Values Voters Summit (he foreshadowed just that with a jab at his arch-nemesis, the media, when he insisted that they should “stop quibbling over the smallest words”), as it should be, for Trump’s speeches are a reflection of the candidate, who he really is, and what he stands for.
And some are going to equate more than just his last few lines as being reminiscent of an Adolf Hitler oration. In fact, it has already occurred.
But it isn’t the first time Donald Trump has weathered the slings and arrows of the press regarding his propensity to seem so Hitler-esque. He’s been compared to the “Most Hated Man Of All Time” almost since he launched his campaign. Media ethicist Kelly McBride and medical ethicist Art Caplan wrote on Poynter in July 2015,
“Can Trump win? It seems unlikely, especially after this weekend. Of course that is what the media said about a funny-looking spewer of hate with an odd mustache who was dismissed as an awful public speaker and not a serious candidate in Germany in the 1930s.”
But is Donald Trump another Adolf Hitler? He certainly seems to remind quite a few people of the German fuhrer. This is partly because he sounds a bit like Hitler (and well he should, given he’s had a chance to study Hitler’s speeches, something learned from Trump himself via Vanity Fair) when he speaks. And it is through those spoken words and his past actions that, in a study of historical leaders conducted by an Oxford University psychologist, Trump found a place higher on the psychopathic scale than did Adolf Hitler (per the Inquistr).
But Donald Trump isn’t Hitler (he’s been dead quite a while, unless you wish to believe the conspiracy theorists). He’s very much the charismatic real estate mogul and reality show star that has decided to run for president of the United States. However, given the chance, he seems perfectly very capable of becoming a living Adolf Hitler paraphrase.
(Article updated from original on September 10, 2016)
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images]