When activists and pundits on the left realized they were scoring political points against the Trump administration over immigration, they knew what they had to do next: Bring out the Nazis.
Yes, there’s been rampant invocation of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party in recent weeks, all because the Trump administration is following the law and the law, as it turns out, has a few bumps in it.
This hasn’t stopped anyone from talking about “concentration camps” or how “children are being marched away to showers.” That last one, by the way, wasn’t from a minor, hysterical pundit looking to make a name for himself, but none other than Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, who has apparently broken both any remaining ties he might have had with moderate Republicanism.
Another individual who stooped to the Nazi analogy is retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA under the Obama administration and director of the National Security Agency under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, according to The Daily Caller. Hayden is the kind of individual the term “deep state” seems to have been invented for — an entrenched bureaucrat who is spending his post-Obama years vociferously opposing Trump.
That’s not an uncommon trait for those who have spent a career of unelected service in the mire of the District of Columbia. However, Hayden hasn’t resorted to the vile reductio ad Hilterum fallacy until now. But when he did, he used it on Twitter just before appearing in the televised company of the wrong person: Wolf Blitzer, the CNN anchor whose father was an Auschwitz survivor.
Hayden had actually spent the weekend making Nazi references. On Sunday, he made a very unsubtle post on Twitter featuring a picture of the Birkenau concentration camp with this lovely caption:
Other governments have separated mothers and children pic.twitter.com/tvlBkGjT0h
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) June 16, 2018
Yes, a former CIA director has found a roundabout way to make the “Literally Hitler” argument usually endemic to slightly famous social media trolls. It probably says something of the informational caliber of Hayden’s followers that he later had to post a follow-up tweet informing them that the picture was of a Nazi concentration camp (Birkenau was part of the Auschwitz death camp complex), since I’m guessing the visual reference escaped them.
Hayden defended his comments on Monday, saying he didn’t really mean to say that Trump was a Nazi, except that he kind of did. In other words, he went full Samantha Bee. You should never go full Samantha Bee.
“I know we’re not Nazi Germany, all right. But there is a commonality there, and a fear on my part … We have standards we have to live up to,” Hayden told CNN host John Berman on Monday morning, according to The Hill.
“I guess I wanted to grab people’s attention, John, because as I reflected on this Saturday afternoon, this seemed to be a very important matter to my mind.” So important, in fact, that he couldn’t help but debase it with an incendiary one-liner.
Either way, Blitzer was unamused.
“You understand the controversy that any comparison to the Holocaust, yes, the kids were brought on the trains, to Birkenau which was at Auschwitz,” Blitzer told Hayden.
“I speak with some authority on this. My grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz. My dad survived, but two of his brothers and two of his sisters were killed. They were separated. They weren’t separated to go to some other facility. They were separated to die. They were killed. When you make the comparison to Auschwitz, that’s a powerful image.”
Check it out here:
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says his tweet invoking a Nazi concentration camp to criticize the separation of families at the US border was a warning of where the country could be headed https://t.co/UC7H2H7ZAV pic.twitter.com/oT54trvec1
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) June 18, 2018
That’s about as close as Blitzer ever comes to saying, “You realize you’re a demagogic jerk who’s willing to debase the deaths of 6 million Jews to get retweets, right?”
During his answer to Blitzer’s original question, Hayden again used the line that “I’m not saying that what’s happening at our southern border is (in) any way like what happened at Birkenau.” Except he literally said just that.
He also tried to say that he was trying “to describe something wider than what’s happening at the southern border.” Which is why he said “Other governments have separated mothers and children.” That doesn’t wash.
Hayden also tried to make the shopworn argument that there were definite parallels between Trump and Hitler. “You had a new government in power with a cult of personality, a cult of nativism, a cult of untruth, a cult where it was acceptable to punish the marginalized segments of society,” Hayden stated in response to Blitzer’s questions.
After Blitzer took him to task, Hayden was somewhat more sheepish, throwing up his hands and saying, “Oh, I know” when the CNN host said he was using a “powerful image.”
If I had to pick a favorite CNN host — which is really a task akin to cleaning out the Augean stables — I’d probably have to pick Wolf Blitzer. Yes, he may be an inveterate liberal who says a lot of very stupid things, but he’s also a reporter from a different age, one where journalists, no matter how slanted their personal opinions may be, wouldn’t put up with this sort of affront to decency from those they interviewed. These days, the sad thing is that it’s the hosts that are saying this.
At least for once, someone in the mainstream media called an obvious demagogue out on his egregious behavior.
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