Democratic Congressman Compares Donald Trump to Hitler, Calls President 'Racist Strongman'

hank johnson trump hitler
Representative Hank Johnson (Democrat - Georgia) speaks on October 19, 2017, in Miami, Florida. Joe Skipper/Getty Images

Democratic Representative Hank Johnson warned against the rise of authoritarianism and compared President Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler in a speech at the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.

"Americans elected an authoritarian, anti-immigrant, racist strongman to the nation's highest office," Johnson, of Georgia, said. "Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again followers—who want to turn America back to a time when white men and white privileged were unchallenged, and were minorities and women were in their place—these folks now control the highest office in the land."

After talking about economic despair in America and warning of history repeating itself, Johnson then directly compared Trump to Hitler.

He said, in part:

"[Hitler] rode a wave of nationalism and anti-Semitism to power. Replace anti-Semitism with 'all Latinos crossing our borders, are rapists, drug dealers and murderers,' does that sound familiar? Hitler was accepting of violence towards the achievement of political objectives. Trump encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies. And his messaging about Charlottesville, that there were bad people on both sides, sent a powerful message of approval to the far right racists in America. Hitler led a political movement of anti-education, anti-science racists, who focused on nationalism with rhetoric about making Germany a strong country, which would result in prosperity for the German people who were hurting due to the disruption caused by the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the effects of Great Depression. Sound familiar?"

Later, after comparing Trump to Hitler at length, Johnson warned that black Americans had to be wary of the president.

"Americans, particularly black Americans, can't afford to make that same mistake about the harm that could be done by a man named Hitler or a man named Trump," he said in his speech.

Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chairwoman, condemned Johnson comparing the president to Hitler.

"This is a disgusting comparison from Rep. Hank Johnson," she tweeted in response to a story about the comments.

This is a disgusting comparison from Rep. Hank Johnson.

— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 3, 2019

Comparisons to Hitler and Nazi Germany aren't exactly infrequent. Republican Senator David Perdue compared Democrats' questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to Germany's "Brownshirts." He later apologized.

The general rule in politics has been that he who is the first to bring Hitler into the dialogue loses. But after his Tuesday speech, Johnson defended his use of the historic example.

"I wanted to make the point that our democracy is under severe threat, that freedom is threatened, and that if we are not vigilant we can allow tyranny to set in," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I made the point that this threat to democracy is a trend across the world, and we can't let this happen in our country."