President Trump has seen an incredible number of attacks against him, from an extraordinary number of angles. He was a man who ran for office under the assumption that he would get to Washington and shake things up, so a great deal of this criticism was to be expected – which has made for a heavily galvanized voter base.
But then there are the attacks that seem to come out of left field, or seem to take metaphors and figures of speech literally in order to drum up some sort of argument.
That could be the case this week, as a compliment Trump paid to midwesterners is being reinterpreted as an endorsement of Nazi-style eugenics.
The US president praised the genes of Minnesotans during a campaign rally in the city of Bemidji last week, during which he also derided refugees, gloated about a reporter being shot with a rubber bullet, and praised a general who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
“This state was pioneered by men and women who braved the wilderness and the winters to build a better life for themselves and for their families. They were tough, and they were strong. You have good genes, you know that, right?” Mr Trump said to applause from supporters.“You have good genes. A lot of it’s about the genes isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory you think was so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”
“As a historian who has written about the Holocaust, I’ll say bluntly: This is indistinguishable from the Nazi rhetoric that led to Jews, disabled people, LGBTQ, Romani and others being exterminated,” Steve Silberman, an acclaimed science writer who has covered the Nazi treatment of people with autism, said on Twitter.
“This is America 2020. This is where the GOP has taken us.”
And that wasn’t all:
Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, said Mr Trump’s comments mirrored “master race eugenics”.
He added: “This was how the Holocaust started. Don’t ignore.”
Is this a case of hyperbole gone wrong, or is Donald Trump truly some evil racist who believes that not all of us are created equal? Your answer to that question may very well be dependent on what side of the aisle you sit on.
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