Trump on ‘poisoning the blood’ remarks: ‘I never knew that Hitler said it’

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Friday defended his recent remarks about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of America, saying he never knew it was language used by Adolf Hitler.

Trump’s assertion that he didn’t know Hitler used similar phrasing in his manifesto, “Mein Kampf,” came after the former president made the comments last weekend, drawing comparisons to the genocidal Nazi dictator — and then repeated the term several more times.

In an interview Friday, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if he used “poisoning the blood” in the same way Hitler meant it — that Jewish blood cannot be part of German blood.

“No, and I never knew that Hitler said it, either, by the way,” Trump said. “And I never read ‘Mein Kampf.’ They said I read ‘Mein Kampf.’ These are people that are disinformation, horrible people that we’re dealing with. I never read ‘Mein Kampf,'” the former president added.

Asked whether he intended the term to have a racist sentiment, Trump said, “Dear, no.”

“First of all, I know nothing about Hitler. I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works,” Trump added. “They say that he said something about blood. He didn’t say it the way I said it, either, by the way, it’s a very different kind of a statement.”

Trump then continued to use the term during the interview with Hewitt, saying it means a certain group of people is ruining the country — echoing how Hitler used the term when speaking about Jews.

“They are poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump said about immigrants. “And I’m not talking about a specific group, and I never read ‘Mein Kampf,’ and I have no idea what Hitler said other than I’ve seen on the news. And that’s a very entirely different thing than what I’m saying. They’re pouring, they’re destroying our country. They’re coming in from every continent, and we have no idea, we have no idea who they are, what they represent. Are they from jails? Are they from prisons? And I will tell you, a big percentage of the people coming in are from prisons and from mental institutions and are terrorists. And we cannot let that … and that is poisoning our country.”

Reached for clarification on the similarities between Trump and Hitler’s uses of the term, Trump’s campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said, “President Trump made clear he was talking about the terrorists, criminals, and people from insane asylums crossing the border, which is true since individuals on the terror watchlist and members of transnational gangs have illegally crossed.”

The former president’s comments on Friday also extended to children. “And they’re loading up our classes. We’re loading up our classes, our school classes, with children that don’t speak the language,” he said in the interview. “They don’t speak our language, and nobody knows what’s going on. No, we are poisoning our country.”

Trump made similar “poisoning the blood” comments in late September during an interview with a right-leaning website, The National Pulse. But when he again used the term at a campaign event in New Hampshire last weekend, it received more attention and backlash. His opponents quickly compared his remarks to Hitler’s, but Trump used the term again at a campaign event in Iowa a few days later.

He then said it again in a video statement posted to his Truth Social account on Thursday: “Illegal immigration is poisoning the blood of our nation. They’re coming from prisons, from mental institutions, from all over the world. Without borders and fair elections, you don’t have a country. Make America great again. We must win in 2024 or we will not have a nation. Thank you.”

Some Republicans have denounced Trump’s comments this week, as have President Joe Biden’s 2024 presidential campaign and Vice President Kamala Harris.

While Trump says he never read Hitler’s manifesto or other writings, a story published in the September 1990 issue of Vanity Fair reported that Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump said he kept an anthology of the Nazi dictator’s speeches in a cabinet by his bed.

Trump told the publication it was his “friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” Davis told Vanity Fair that he did give Trump a book about Hitler, the anthology of speeches, titled “My New Order,” because he thought Trump would find it “interesting.” He also said he is not Jewish.

If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them,” Trump told the publication.

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