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

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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.

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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