New Book Alleges That Trump Told Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, ‘Well, Hitler Did a Lot of Good Things’
by Ben Cohen
Former US President Donald Trump allegedly praised the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler as a leader who “did a lot of good things,” according to a much-anticipated book on the thorny subject of Trump’s 2020 election campaign.
The book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, entitled “Frankly, We Did Win This Election,” is scheduled for publication next week. Billed as the “inside story” of an electoral contest that culminated in Trump’s baseless charge that the election was rigged in Joe Biden’s favor, advance publicity for the book claims that it promises “exciting revelations” about a range of senior administration figures, including Vice-President Mike Pence, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
One passage of the book concerns a conversation about Hitler that Trump allegedly held in 2018 with his then chief of staff, John Kelly, while the pair were visiting Europe to mark the centenary of the end of World War I.
In the book, Bender cited “unnamed sources” as the basis of his account of the conversation, according to The Guardian, which obtained a copy.
The book reported that Trump told Kelly, “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
Kelly — a former US Marine Corps Four-Star General who served his country in Iraq during the 2003 war — was said to be “stunned” by Trump’s observation.
The remark supposedly came as Kelly was educating the former president on the competing alliances that fought World War I, in which he “connected the dots from the First World War to the Second World War and all of Hitler’s atrocities.”
Bender wrote that Kelly told the president “that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred,” emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s.
“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender continued, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”
Bender added that Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 was true, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”
A spokesperson for Trump angrily denied that the former president had made the comment about Hitler, insinuating that Kelly had fabricated the conversation in a bid to damage Trump’s reputation.
Dismissing Bender’s account as “made-up, fake news,” Trump representative Liz Harrington opined that Kelly was “probably” the source of the quote, going on to dismiss him as “a general who was incompetent and was fired.”
Kelly was appointed as Trump’s chief of staff in 2017, replacing the president’s first appointee in the job, Reince Priebus. However, he departed the post in December 2018, amid persistent reports that he and Trump were no longer on speaking terms and that Kelly had frequently described the president as an “idiot.”
While Kelly refrained from criticizing Trump openly during the remainder of the president’s single term in office, he broke his silence in January after militant supporters of Trump rioted on Capitol Hill, declaring that Trump had “poisoned people’s minds with lies and fraud.”