Trump, who calls opponents ‘vermin’, draws rebukes from the White House, some in the GOP

The White House, President Biden’s 2024 campaign and some prominent Republicans criticized former President Donald Trump on Monday for calling his political opponents “vermin” and more dangerous than foreign enemies, historians said, mimicking the language used by authoritarian leaders.

The remarks came during Trump’s campaign speech Saturday in Claremont, NH, and in a social media post.

“We promise you that we will exterminate the Communists, the Marxists, the Fascists and the radical leftist thugs who live like vermin within our country’s borders, who lie and steal and cheat in elections,” Trump said in New Hampshire, repeating the falsehood. claims the 2020 election was stolen. “They will do anything, legal or illegal, to destroy America and destroy the American Dream.”

Since leaving the White House in 2021, Donald Trump has said he will approach a second term as president with an expansive view of the executive branch. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

White House spokesman Andrew Bates explained that he would not comment on the 2024 campaign, but said in a statement Monday: “Using terms like that about dissent would be unrecognizable to our founding fathers, but horrifyingly recognizable to American veterans who donning their country’s uniform in the 1940s.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said in an email to The Washington Post that “calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.”

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Trump vows to “exterminate” his liberal opponents, drawing backlash from historians who say his rhetoric is reminiscent of authoritarian

It was a point Biden’s re-election campaign focused on on Monday when shared on social media a clip of CNN host Dana Bash echoing The Post’s reporting with his own: “We just need to say that the term ‘monstrous’ was indeed used effectively by Adolf Hitler and by Mussolini, to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to go after their adversaries.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, repeated an earlier statement to defend the former president’s comments. “Those trying to make that ridiculous claim are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their sad, miserable existence will be shattered when President Trump returns to the White House .”

In Saturday’s speech, Trump also called himself a “very proud pro-choice denier” and said that “the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and serious than the threat from within. Our threat is from within. Because if you have a skilled, competent, smart, tough leader, Russia, China, North Korea, they will not play with us.”

Trump’s remarks drew sharp condemnation and warnings from historians and politicians across the political spectrum.

Former Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming — who served as co-chair of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the election results — said on X, formerly Twitter, that Republicans who refused to condemn Trump’s remarks, are “appease this dangerous man.”

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Cheney shared a video of Ronna McDaniel’s Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which the Republican National Committee chairman declined to comment on what Trump said. Cheney criticized McDaniel’s refusal to condemn Trump “for using the same Nazi propaganda that mobilized 1930s-40s Germany for evil, it is reasonable to assume that she is collaborating.”

“It’s unfortunate, yet not shocking, that Liz Cheney is leaving DNC talking points,” RNC spokeswoman Anna Kelly told The Post in response to Cheney’s comments.

Michael Steele, a former RNC chairman, wrote on social media that, “Trump calls his enemies ‘scum’ and wants to put an end to ‘radical leftist lunatics.'” Don’t dismiss his fascist reference while noting that it’s not the left who has testified against him, it’s the conservatives, who supported him. HE is the ‘threat from within’.”