WASHINGTON (AFP) – Mr Donald Trump, during a visit to Europe while he was US president, told his chief of staff that “Hitler did a lot of good things”, The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday (July 7), citing an upcoming book.
His chief of staff John Kelly was reportedly “stunned” by the remark.
The exchange is recounted in the upcoming book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, by Mr Michael Bender of The Wall Street Journal, the British newspaper said.
The Guardian said it obtained a copy of the book ahead of its publication next week.
Mr Trump reportedly made the comment while Mr Kelly was giving him an impromptu history lesson during a 2018 visit to Europe to mark the end of World War I.
According to the book, Mr Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.
“Well, Hitler did a lot of good things,” Mr Trump reportedly said.
Mr Kelly purportedly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, emphasising German economic recovery under Adolf Hitler during the 1930s.
“Kelly pushed back again,” the Guardian quoted Mr Bender as writing, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide”. Mr Kelly told Mr Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis were true, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t”.
The Guardian said Mr Bender has interviewed Mr Trump since he lost the November 2020 election and the latter has denied making the remark about Hitler.
Mr Kelly, a former Marine Corps general who left the White House in early 2019, has made a number of critical comments about Mr Trump following the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of the former president.
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