The Trump Files: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files”—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current President—on July 7, 2016.

There was a time when Donald Trump spoke out against racism.

In 1999, when Trump was flirting with the idea of seeking the Reform Party’s presidential nomination, he paid a visit to a museum run by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that promotes human rights and studies the Holocaust. In a rare moment of eloquence, Trump called out his potential competitor for the nomination, commentator Pat Buchanan, for suggesting in a book that Hitler had posed no direct threat to the West in 1940.

“In the 1930s, everyone thought Hitler was a fringe element who could never come to power,” Trump said, according to an article in USA Today.

“History showed otherwise,” he added. “We must recognize bigotry and prejudice and defeat it wherever it appears.”

Trump encouraged his rival to visit the museum, hoping it would enlighten him. “I think Pat Buchanan should come here, absolutely,” Trump said, according to the Associated Press. “His views are so far off, and what he wrote in his book was so bad.”

Nowadays, it’s fellow Republicans who have to ask Trump to avoid racist remarks and tweets that originate with anti-Semitic white supremacists.

 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate