Trump Escalates Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric With ‘Poisoning the Blood’ Comment

Former President Donald J. Trump said undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country” in a recent interview, language with echoes of white supremacy and the racial hatreds of Adolf Hitler.

Mr. Trump made the remark in a 37-minute video interview with The National Pulse, a right-leaning website, that was posted last week. It drew broader scrutiny on Wednesday after the liberal MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan surfaced the quote in a post on X.

Other commentators went on to point out that Mr. Trump’s attack invoked a theme of Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto “Mein Kampf,” in which the Nazi Party leader railed about what he claimed was the impurity of immigrants, Jews and interracial couples.

In the interview, Mr. Trump was asked about immigration and the Southern border.

He replied: “Nobody has any idea where these people are coming from, and we know they come from prisons. We know they come from mental institutions and insane asylums. We know they’re terrorists. Nobody has ever seen anything like we’re witnessing right now. It is a very sad thing for our country. It’s poisoning the blood of our country. It’s so bad, and people are coming in with disease. People are coming in with every possible thing that you could have.”

At campaign rallies, Mr. Trump has repeated that leaders of unspecified South American countries were releasing patients from mental hospitals to send as migrants to the United States, but fact checkers have found no evidence for the claim.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, called Mr. Trump’s comments racist and xenophobic. “Insinuating that immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood of our country’ echoes nativist talking points and has the potential to cause real danger and violence,’’ Mr. Greenblatt said in a statement. “We have seen this kind of toxic rhetoric inspire real-world violence before in places like Pittsburgh and El Paso. It should have no place in our politics, period.”

A spokesman for Mr. Trump, Steven Cheung, called the former president’s comment “a normal phrase that is used in everyday life.” He added, “For anyone to think that is racist or xenophobic is living in an alternate reality consumed with nonsensical outrage.”

In “Mein Kampf,” as noted by the website and amplified by others, there are several passages in which Hitler used the words “poison” and “blood” in attacking people he deemed a threat to the purity of the Aryan race.

In a chapter titled “Race and People,” Hitler wrote, “All the great civilizations of the past became decadent because the originally creative race died out, as a result of contamination of the blood.”

And in another passage, he links “the poison which has invaded the national body” to an “influx of foreign blood.”

Mr. Trump has long had a Hitler fascination, according to biographers, news articles and books about his presidency. His bedside table once held a copy of Hitler speeches called “My New Order,” a gift from a friend, which Ivana Trump, his first wife, said she had seen him occasionally leafing through.

During a trip to France in 2018, Mr. Trump told his chief of staff John F. Kelly, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things,” according to the journalist Michael C. Bender, now a New York Times reporter, in a 2021 book on the Trump presidency. Mr. Trump denied making the remark.

According to another book on the Trump presidency, by Peter Baker, another New York Times reporter, and Susan Glasser, the former president also complained to Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, that American generals didn’t treat him as loyally as Hitler’s generals had. “Why can’t you be like the German generals” of the Third Reich, he demanded, the authors wrote.

This week, while confirming earlier accounts of Mr. Trump’s disparaging of America’s wounded veterans and war dead, Mr. Kelly called the former president “a person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators.”

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