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Remember When Donald Trump Read Literature by Hitler?

Trump recently claimed he didn’t know about white supremacist and anti-Semite David Duke, but the presidential hopeful finally disavowed him

Jordana Narin
February 29, 2016
Swerzy/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump and his then-wife Ivana in New York, December 4, 1989. Swerzy/AFP/Getty Images
Swerzy/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump and his then-wife Ivana in New York, December 4, 1989. Swerzy/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump is at it again.

On Sunday, when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether or not he would renounce supporters like David Duke—the avowedly white supremacist, anti-Semitic, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan—Trump said:

I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know—did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.

When Tapper specified that he was talking about the Ku Klux Klan, Trump still wouldn’t renounce their support for his campaign.

I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about.

It appeared that Trump, a would-be U.S. president, did not apparently know about the KKK or Duke, who has said a vote against Trump is “treason to your heritage.” He has since blamed the mishap on a “bad earpiece,” and has disavowed Duke (OK? You happy? he seemed to say.)

As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016

Either Trump is more stupid than everyone thought, or he thinks that we are.

To anyone who hasn’t slept through the past seven months, Trump’s latest dabble in racism is no surprise. He already (and shamelessly so) came after Mexicans and Muslims, so his flirtation with white supremacy is almost expected at this point. And by refusing to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, and people like David Duke, who has written a book called Jewish Supremacism and referred to the media as “Jewish-dominated,” Trump is also flirting with anti-Semitism. Again.

Recall this 1990 Vanity Fair article about the divorce of Trump and his first wife, Ivana, revealed that the Republican frontrunner used to sleep with a copy of Hitler’s speeches.

Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke.

Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Maybe Trump was telling the truth about not knowing Duke or anything about the Ku Klux Klan; maybe, too, he’s actually never read Hitler’s speeches. (I don’t buy it.) But, as former Mexican president Vicente Fox said last Friday, “[Trump] reminds me of Hitler. That’s the way he started speaking.” And Fox isn’t the only one to make the connection. Just last month, Anne Frank’s step-sister accused Trump of “acting like another Hitler.”

As he racks up his delegate count on Super Tuesday, let’s hope Americans stop him before it’s too late.

Jordana Narin is an intern at Tablet