When Donald Trump mentioned Nazi Germany in reference to a lurid document floating around U.S. intelligence agencies, the New York Times was shocked and appalled -- and deeply hypocritical, given the eagerness of the paper's reporters, editors, and columnists to make those same comparisons against Donald Trump.
Referring to a raw, unsubstantiated dossier trumpeted on Buzzfeed, allegedly consisting of compromising material on the president-elect compiled by Russian intelligence, Trump tweeted this Wednesday morning:
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?
In “Trump Says ‘I Think It Was Russia’ That Hacked the Democrats," reporters Michael Shear, Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Rosenberg couldn’t hide their disgust.
President-elect Trump should have known that comparing himself to a victim of Nazi persecution would not go over well -- and it didn’t.
On Wednesday morning, amid a furor over the publishing of an unsubstantiated, explosive dossier, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter:
In 140 characters, he compared American intelligence agencies to Nazis, called himself a target, and asked whether his travails were comparable to those of the victims of Adolf Hitler.
The response was swift from organizations that combat anti-Semitism and guard the memories of Nazi victims.
“It is a despicable insult to Holocaust survivors around the world, and to the nation he is about to lead, that Donald Trump compares America to Nazi Germany. The president-elect has denigrated our nation and its commitment to freedom on the eve of his inauguration. He must retract his tweet and apologize to survivors and to our entire nation,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the American wing of an international organization that fights discrimination in Anne Frank’s name.
The Anti-Defamation League also joined the denunciations.
The blowback was a reminder to Mr. Trump of what is known as Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches.” And once it happens, the conversation generally stops.
Mark Landler piled on in Thursday’s edition with “Trump Under Fire for Equating U.S. Intelligence With Nazis.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump, in venting his fury about the disclosure of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising personal information about him, reached for a familiar but fraught historical metaphor: Nazi Germany.
Now, Mr. Trump is under fire from Jewish groups, who say the analogy was erroneous, offensive and denigrating to Holocaust survivors. They are demanding that he apologize for it.
Not only was he comparing himself to the victims of Nazi persecution, but he was also, in effect, calling American intelligence agencies Nazis.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect both condemned Mr. Trump for what they characterized as trivializing one of the singular horrors of the 20th century to score a political point.
Apparently only the New York Times is allowed to make Nazi and Hitler comparisons – the paper has done so constantly over the years, to countless Republicans, most recently Trump himself.
Last December, a television critic made a Hitler-Trump link in his review of the Amazon show “The Man in the High Castle.”
Also last December, former Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal casually linked Trump to two of the most notorious mass murders in recent history with the smarmy observation that Trump had been named Person of the Year by Time Magazine, “a distinction also given to...Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin – twice.”
In November 2016, the always classy Paul Krugman filed a blog post with the offensive title “The Sorrow and the Pity,” a ham-handed swipe of the incoming Trump administration as akin to the Nazi occupation of France. (The Sorrow and the Pity is a 1969 documentary about how the Vichy government of France infamously collaborated with Germany during the World War II occupation.)
In July 2016, reporter Alexander Burns casually let a Trump opponent say he reminded her of the rise of Hitler’s National Socialist Party.