President Biden condemned Donald Trump for his horrific language echoing dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. In an unhinged post sent from his far-right social media platform on Veterans Day holiday and during a campaign event in New Hampshire, Trump attacked his critics as “vermin.” Biden said the dangerous and incendiary rhetoric “echoes language you heard in Nazi Germany.”
“In just the last few days, Trump has said, if he returns office, he’s gonna go after all those who oppose him and wipe out what he called the vermin, quote, the vermin in America — a specific phrase with a specific meaning,” President Biden said in remarks reported by NBC News.
“It echoes language you heard in Nazi Germany in the ’30s. And it isn’t even the first time,” the president continued in the remarks as reported by NBC News. “Trump also recently talked about, quote, the blood of America is being poisoned. The blood of America is being poisoned. Again, it echoes the same phrases used in Nazi Germany.” The New York Times described Trump’s “poisoning the blood of America” as “language with echoes of white supremacy and the racial hatreds of Adolf Hitler.”
Let’s pause a moment on the gravity of this exchange. The sitting President is condemning the former President for sounding like a Nazi as the pair are all but set for a rematch for the most powerful office in the world. Nor is President Biden making these comments as some sort of hyperbolic political attack, but instead as a sobering understanding of the history and the threat such dehumanizing language poses.
Numerous historians and scholars have also stated Trump’s remarks imitate fascistic propaganda that dehumanized Jewish people by equating them to rodents and parasites. “Trump calls political enemies ‘vermin,’ echoing dictators Hitler, Mussolini,” The Washington Post said in its headline.
“Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said in an email to the Washington Post that “calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence,” the outlet reported. Timothy Naftali, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, told The Washington Post it is “the language that dictators use to instill fear.”
Other headlines stated similar facts. “Trump’s “vermin” comments are a reminder he’s an authoritarian,” Vox reported. “Donald Trump’s use of the word ‘vermin’ draws more comparisons to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini,” USA Today reported. “It’s Official: With ‘Vermin,’ Trump Is Now Using Straight-up Nazi Talk,” New Republic reported. Though as President Biden noted in his remarks, Trump had previously employed this dehumanizing rhetoric.
Like the New Republic noted in a second report, the Trump campaign seemingly confirmed its chilling views by vowing vengeance against opponents, when campaign spokesman Steven Cheung promised critics’ “entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.” The Washington Post reported Cheung later tried to walk back the remark. But as the late poet Maya Angelou once said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Trump’s reported immigration plans should he return to the White House in January 2025 are shocking in their scope and brutality, promising assaults on legal immigration, refugees, asylum seekers, the foreign-born and their U.S. citizen children.
Among numerous horrific proposed policies, Trump would seek “to end birthright citizenship for babies born in the United States to undocumented parents — by proclaiming that policy to be the new position of the government and by ordering agencies to cease issuing citizenship-affirming documents like Social Security cards and passports to them,” The New York Times reported. The result would appear to be an untold number of stateless children vulnerable to deportation despite being born in the U.S.
“Entire communities and industries that rely on immigrants to drive the economy would be wiped out; cities devastated by storms and natural disasters would lose vital labor; and our labor shortages would worsen, hurting American consumers and businesses across the board,” America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas said in a statement. “The cost of this deportation agenda would not only be billions in economic terms, but incalculably damaging in human, community, and social fabric terms.”
We are at a flashing red alert, and not just because Trump is promising an all-out assault on immigrants and their families all across our nation. It’s about something much bigger too. It’s the Trump campaign attempting to redefine who is and who isn’t an American, who does and who doesn’t belong here. “The sum total of Trump’s rhetoric and policy outlines isn’t a plan for managing immigration, but a strategy to undermine our democracy and redefine who we are as a nation,” said Cárdenas.