CNN’s Brinkley Likens Trump to American Nazi Party Founder

7 mins read


On Friday’s CNN Tonight, Don Lemon presided over a panel whose members bashed President Donald Trump over his handling of the George Floyd-inspired protests.

After former CBS News anchor Dan Rather accused several Republican Presidents of “playing the race card,” CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley likened President Trump to the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell.

Lemon began the segment by asking Rather his expectations for how much change there would be in response to the George Floyd protests, leading to Rather, without any elaboration, to accuse Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, in addition to Trump, of “playing the race card”:

DAN RATHER: Let’s see if clearly if President Trump — he hasn’t been sending dog whistles, he’s using a foghorn to say that he’s dedicated his political strategy, at least for the moment, probably until November, to bet that racial fears will prevail. And therefore he’s taking the attitude that “I’m going to do what Richard Nixon did in 1968, what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, what President George H.W. Bush did in 1988, and what I did in 2016,” and that is play the race card.

Lemon turned to Brinkley and declared that the President has “mishandled’ the protests as he posed:

DON LEMON: Douglas, the President has so mishandled and misjudged everything that has happened — the crackdown that happened in Lafayette Park was a fiasco. He’s calling protesters “terrorists who want to burn and pillage our cities.” How is history going to judge this President during a moment of crisis?

Brinkley predicted that Trump will be judged as the worst President in history, and compared him to George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party:

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: If Abraham Lincoln is ranked as our top President, you’re looking at Donald Trump on the very bottom of the heap. That might seem like a premature judgment — we are in the middle of an election year — but this, you know, this idea of Trump has of dividing our country — of using racial slurs — of being a leader of birtherism — I mean, he’s more, you know, George Lincoln Rockwell than Abraham Lincoln in his behavior.

After complaining about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, the liberal historian concluded: “So thank goodness these protesters are starting to stand up and challenge Trumpism which has an aura around it of white supremacy.”

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, June 13, CNN Tonight:

11:22 p.m. Eastern

DON LEMON: So, Dan, I’m going to start with you because, I mean, wow, this summer we have seen is amazing. Events are unfolding since George Floyd’s killing. The protests, the police reaction, videos emerging, more police brutality, and now possibly, possibly reform. What does it mean? Turning point in America? Lasting change? What?

DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Certainly the indicators point to it as a turning point for America, but we can’t know for sure until at least after the November elections because let’s see if clearly if President Trump — he hasn’t been sending dog whistles, he’s using a foghorn to say that he’s dedicated his political strategy at least for the moment, probably until November, to bet that racial fears will prevail. And therefore he’s taking the attitude that “I’m going to do what Richard Nixon did in 1968, what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, what President George H.W. Bush did in 1988, and what I did in 2016,” and that is play the race card.

(…)

DON LEMON: Douglas, the President has so mishandled and misjudged everything that has happened — the crackdown that happened in Lafayette Park was a fiasco. He’s calling protesters “terrorists who want to burn and pillage our cities.” How is history going to judge this President during a moment of crisis?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: If Abraham Lincoln is ranked as our top President, you’re looking at Donald Trump on the very bottom of the heap. That might seem like a premature judgment — we are in the middle of an election year — but this, you know, this idea of Trump has of dividing our country — of using racial slurs — of being a leader of birtherism — I mean, he’s more, you know, George Lincoln Rockwell than Abraham Lincoln in his behavior.

And then the way he’s misled the country during the COVID-19 crisis when it started, we missed — lost a month or two of action. It’s been muddled leadership, you know, now we’re already second waving, and it’s the middle of the summer. This has been a disastrous 2020 for Donald Trump. I see he’s sinking in the polls all the time, but I’m still amazed that, you know, 35 percent of the American public thinks he’s doing a good job right now because our economy is in tatters.

And there’s really not — and if you ask a simple question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and the answer in America is no. So thank goodness these protesters are starting to stand up and challenge Trumpism which has an aura around it of white supremacy.



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