It was back in August 1990 that Vanity Fair published an article about Donald Trump with this little tidbit. Business Insider repeated it earlier this year:
"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 ... Hitler's speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist," Marie Brenner wrote.
Hitler was one of history's most prolific orators, building a genocidal Nazi regime with speeches that bewitched audiences.
"He learned how to become a charismatic speaker, and people, for whatever reason, became enamored with him," Professor Bruce Loebs, who has taught a class called the Rhetoric of Hitler and Churchill for the past 46 years at Idaho State University, told Business Insider earlier this year.
"People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to have the right answers in a time of enormous economic upheaval."
When Brenner asked Trump about how he came to possess Hitler's speeches, "Trump hesitated" and then said, "Who told you that?"
"I don't remember," Brenner reportedly replied.
Trump then recalled, "Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of 'Mein Kampf,' and he's a Jew."
Brenner added that Davis did acknowledge that he gave Trump a book about Hitler.
"But it was 'My New Order,' Hitler's speeches, not 'Mein Kampf,'" Davis reportedly said. "I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I'm not Jewish."
After Trump and Brenner changed topics, Trump returned to the subject and reportedly said, "If, I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them."
In the Vanity Fair article, Ivana Trump told a friend that her husband's cousin, John Walter "clicks his heels and says, 'Heil Hitler," when visiting Trump's office.
All in good fun, amirite?
Yet there is this other troubling angle. His father Fred, his role model and mentor, set a disturbing example:
According to a New York Times article published in June 1927, a man with the name and address of Donald Trump's father was arraigned after Klan members attacked cops in Queens, N.Y.
In an article subtitled "Klan assails policeman", Fred Trump is named in among those taken in during a late May "battle" in which "1,000 Klansmen and 100 policemen staged a free-for-all." At least two officers were hurt during the event, after which the Klan's activities were denounced by the city's Police Commissioner, Joseph A. Warren.
“The Klan not only wore gowns, but had hoods over their faces almost completely hiding their identity,” Warren was quoted as saying in the article, which goes on to identify seven men “arrested in the near-riot of the parade.”
Named alongside Trump are John E Kapp and John Marcy (charged with felonious assault in the attack on Patrolman William O'Neill and Sgt. William Lockyear), Fred Lyons, Thomas Caroll, Thomas Erwin, and Harry J Free. They were arraigned in Jamaica, N.Y. All seven were represented by the same lawyers, according to the article.The final entry on the list reads: “Fred Trump of 175-24 Devonshire Road, Jamaica, was discharged.”
Trump, of course, denied it. We don't know if old Fred was wearing a white hood, but at the very least, he seems to have been a fan of the Klan. Maybe he just doesn't like black people:
A 1979 article, published by Village Voice, reported on a civil rights suit that alleged that the Trumps refused to rent to black home-seekers, and quotes a rental agent who said Fred Trump instructed him not to rent to blacks and to encourage existing black tenants to leave.
The case was settled in a 1975 consent degree described as "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated," but the Justice Department subsequently complained that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."
The apple does not appear to have fallen far from the tree!
I met a bus driver named Kip Brown, who worked the Port Authority route, up and back each morning, for Academy Bus Lines. He had been at Academy for fifteen years and was No. 3 in seniority, out of seventy drivers in the region. As ridership has fallen, Academy has been cutting back on its schedule. The number of visitors arriving by bus is an eighth of what it was a quarter century ago. In the spring, Brown, just forty-seven, retired.
Now he was looking for work as a livery driver. Brown also used to work in the casinos, at the Showboat, bussing tables, and at Trump’s Castle, stripping and waxing floors. "When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor," he said. "It was the eighties, I was a teen-ager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back."
Then there are the things he says with his own mouth (which frequently resembles an anus):
“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
“Laziness is a trait in blacks.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the likely Republican nominee! Just so we're really, really clear on what the GOP stands for.