Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer took issue with President Obama’s remarks during the Democratic National Convention where he seemed to allude to Donald Trump as a “homegrown demagogue.” The president argued that American “values” have always survived threats from “fascists or communists or terrorists or homegrown demagogues,” to which Krauthammer complained that he “wouldn’t compare [Trump] to Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden.” Krauthammer’s distaste for Obama’s seeming comparison is surprising considering Krauthammer linked Obama to Hitler in 2008.
During President Obama’s July 27 remarks at the Democratic National Convention, the president highlighted the work his administration has done to fix the economy and keep America safe. Obama also commented on the values he learned from his grandparents, arguing, “That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.”
Fox’s Charles Krauthammer criticized President Obama’s comments, calling them “astonishing” and saying, “I wouldn’t compare [Trump] to Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden.” Krauthammer added, “I think because Trump represents the antithesis of what [President Obama] does in his own mind, [Obama] really is going to throw his weight into this election.”
Krauthammer had no issue with linking Obama to Hitler when then-Senator Obama gave a campaign speech in Berlin, Germany in 2008 to thousands of Germans, American expatriates, and others at the Brandenburg Gate. Krauthammer weighed in on whether Obama’s speech in Berlin would help him in the 2008 campaign, saying, “You don’t get a bounce out of standing in front of 200,000 Germans at a rally who are chanting your name. Bad vibes sometimes, historically.” Krauthammer’s apparent offhand allusion to Hitler in a criticism of Obama is part of a much larger trend in right-wing media wherein commentators and pundits routinely compare mundane policy choices to the brutal oppression of history’s greatest dictators.
On the other hand, while Krauthammer “wouldn’t compare” Trump to Hitler, historians, journalists, political commentators, and even Holocaust survivors have criticized Trump for outrageous comments, proposals, and actions they argue share similarities with fascist dictators. Trump has previously been called out for using “Nazi-style” hand gestures, galvanizing white nationalist groups with his campaign rhetoric, and even tweeting an anti-Clinton image which originated on an anti-Semitic message board.