As New York magazine columnist Frank Rich appeared as a guest on Tuesday's CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon brought up the latest display of hyperbolic comparisons between Donald Trump and former Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, as the CNN host asked Rich about his latest article which likens Trump supporters to those who supported Hitler's rise to power. The piece even threw in a charge that former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had whipped up an "anti-Obama lynch mob hysteria."
In his article, titled "Trump's Appeasers," Rich suggested that Republicans -- some of whom he likened to "collaborators" and others to "appeasers" -- would be to blame if someone worse than Trump and more Hitler-like succeeds in coming to power in the future. The liberal columnist warned: "Trump has made himself the supreme leader of an enraged swath of Americans, perhaps some 40 percent of the electorate, as eager to blow up our republic as the Nazis were Weimar."
A bit later, he added: "They may yet rally around a new demagogue who is a more effective Hitler surrogate than Trump could ever be. And that's why a second, intertwined analogy remains very much on the table: the analogy between Trump's collaborators and appeasers and their antecedents who stood idly by or actively abetted Hitler as he consolidated power in the Nazi era."
It was at this point that Lemon began quoting from the article:
I want to read something. This is from your latest piece in New York magazine. It says, "The weak Republican elites who did little or nothing to bring Trump down in 2016, and who have pandered to his constituency ever since Sarah Palin's rallies boiled over into anti-Obama lynch mob hysteria two presidential elections ago, cannot slink away from history's harsh verdict on the grounds that Trump is no Hitler. After all, Hitler wasn't fully Hitler either when too many men in power gave him a free pass in the 1930s."
The CNN host then posed: "And then you go on to say that the only people with the power to shut down Trump were those sitting at the top of the Republican party. Tell me about this?"
Rich began by complaining about those who have accused the media of being to blame for Trump's political successes so far:
Well, you know, the press, as you and I know as well as anyone, has been blamed for Trump's rise and not stopping him. But the truth is, there's been a ton of investigative work on Trump, and the press couldn't stop him. I mean, how many opinion pieces were reported?
The liberal columnist took aim at Republican leaders as he added:
The Republican party elites -- particularly Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell -- who after all are the head of the two chambers of Congress -- and Reince Priebus did have the ability if they exercised leadership to stop this in the primary, to get -- bump heads together, get Republicans to unite around an alternative to Trump, do stuff at the convention, whatever.