Trump praised Hitler to chief of staff John Kelly during Europe trip, new book claims
- Donald Trump while serving as president once praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during a conversation with then-White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, a new book claims.
- "Well, Hitler did a lot of good things," Trump told Kelly during a 2018 visit to Europe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, according to the book.
- "President Trump never said this. It is made up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired," Trump's spokeswoman said.
Donald Trump, while serving as president, once praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during a conversation with then-White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, a new book claims.
"Well, Hitler did a lot of good things," Trump told Kelly during a 2018 official visit to Europe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, according to the Michael Bender book "Frankly, We Did Win This Election."
The Guardian newspaper, which obtained a copy of the book, reported that Trump made the positive comment about Hitler during an "impromptu history lesson" in which the retired Marine Corps general "reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict" and described how the First World War Ied to the "Second World War and all of Hitler's atrocities."
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Tens of millions of people died in World War II, during which the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and other allied powers fought the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.
Among the dead were millions of Jews and others who were exterminated in German concentration camps.
The report comes more than 30 years after Vanity Fair magazine cited a claim by Trump's first wife Ivana Trump that he kept a book of Hitler's speeches by his bed.
Trump, in saying Hitler also "did a lot of good things," noted to Kelly that the German economy recovered in the 1930s under the Nazi dictator, according to The Guardian report.
But Kelly reportedly said that even if that were true, "You cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can't."
Trump's spokeswoman Liz Harrington denied the book's account in a statement Wednesday.
"This is totally false," Harrington said.
"President Trump never said this. It is made up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired," Harrington said of Kelly.
The Trump White House similarly denied a prior report about the same trip that he skipped a scheduled visit to an American cemetery near Paris, which contains the bodies of U.S. soldiers who died during WWI, after telling staff members, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers?"
Trump announced in late 2018 that Kelly, who previously served as his Homeland Security secretary, was leaving as chief of staff by the end of the year. In the months leading up to his departure, Kelly had clashed with Trump, other White House staff and then-First Lady Melania Trump.
Vanity Fair magazine reported in 1990 that Ivana Trump told her lawyer that Donald Trump on occasion "reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, 'My New Order,' which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed."
When the Vanity Fair reporter asked Trump himself if Trump's cousin had given him that book, the magazine reported that "Trump hesitated."
"Who told you that?" Trump asked, according to the magazine.
Trump then said: "Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of 'Mein Kampf,' and he's a Jew."
Davis told Vanity Fair: "I did give him a book about Hitler … But it was 'My New Order,' Hitler's speeches, not "Mein Kampf.'"
"I thought he would find it interesting," Davis said. "I am his friend, but I'm not Jewish."
Trump told the magazine, "If had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them."
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