Most of the attention directed at Donald Trump’s hateful interview with British tabloid The Sun has been directed at how he back-stabbed UK Prime Minister Theresa May even as the two were chatting together in London. But there’s a portion of the interview that’s even more frightening than Trump’s eagerness to disrupt an allied government and weaken alliances going back decades.
Trump: I think what has happened to Europe is a shame. Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.
So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.
What’s not in Trump’s statement about immigration is important: The word “illegal.” Trump isn’t bemoaning the idea of of illegal immigrants swarming across some European border. He’s attacking immigrants, pure and simple. Trump’s words here aren’t just shocking, they’re a direct lift from neo-Nazi white supremacist propaganda that paints migrants as “invaders” and white culture as under attack. The only thing that separates Donald Trump’s policies from an open declaration of white supremacy, is using the word “Europe” rather than “white.” And that is a very, very thin reed.
Trump’s statements to The Sun only build on the rhetoric he used in describing immigration within the United States. As NBC News reported last month, Trump on multiple occasions used the word “infest” in describing immigrants coming into the United States. If it seems very, very similar to these warnings from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, that’s because it is.
In order to make Jewish persecution publicly palatable, Nazi propagandists branded Jews as a biological threat to Germany. Government-sponsored racist propaganda was widely distributed denouncing Jews as “alien,” and “parasitic,” and responsible for Germany’s cultural, political, and economic “degeneration.”
Trump’s painting of immigrants as an “infestation” that is causing the loss of European culture and driving up crime isn’t even an echo. It’s just a repeat. A do-over of the worst moment in human history.
In the same interview, Trump insists that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is responsible for “spiraling crime” and terrorism because he allows too much immigration into London. Trump doesn’t explain how a mayor who has nothing to do with immigration is allowing too much immigration. He just knows that Khan is Muslim, and therefore suspect.
Trump: I have great love for countries in Europe. Don’t forget, essentially I’m a product of the European Union, between Scotland and Germany.
The comments on Khan follow several weeks of attacks on Germany, in which Trump has painted Germany as a place where migrants are causing a sharp increase in crime.
Trump: The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!
Except, as Politifact confirms, it isn’t true. In fact, crime in Germany has been going down steeply, despite that nation’s generosity toward both immigrants and refugees.
According to the latest government numbers that came out in May, crime in the European Union’s largest economy is down by about 9.6 percent from 2016 to 2017.
But though this point has been brought up to Trump, he’s ignored it and repeated his lies about increasing crime. The idea that a country can be both welcoming to immigrants, open to change, and thriving from the results—which is the basis of America—is anathema to Trump and the forces he commands.
Trump doesn’t just rant about the assault of immigrants on white culture. While complaining about how the mayor of London isn’t nice to him, Trump reverses the flow, declaring himself the champion of beleaguered white nationalists everywhere while also providing, as he often does, a threat.
Trump: I think he has not been hospitable to a government that is very important. Now he might not like the current President, but I represent the United States. I also represent a lot of people in Europe because a lot of people from Europe are in the United States.
Trump is making a claim here that he’s not just the leader of the United States, but the “representative of a lot of people in Europe.” He’s claiming leadership of not just the alt-right in the United States, but the alt-Reich around the world.
Trump makes it clear elsewhere in the interview that he is “loved” by “real British people.” By which Trump doesn’t mean Khan, or immigrants, or the thousands protesting him in the streets. He means the people in Europe who understand exactly what he means. Now that he’s dropped his dog whistle, and picked up a bullhorn.
The most frightening thing about all of this is that not only is Donald Trump making statements using basic, essential, no-holds-barred, undeniable Nazi rhetoric … the press barely seems to notice. The personal byplay with May, the laughable mistakes and miscues, all of it gets more attention. While Trump slips more and more of this language into not just his speech, but into American policy.