According to a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, Donald Trump told his then–chief of staff John Kelly during a 2018 trip to France that Adolf Hitler “did a lot of good things.” The then-president was apparently referring to the 1930s German economic boom, which was fueled by the mass manufacture of goods with which the country strengthened itself to launch the deadliest war and worst genocide in human history in an attempt to create a thousand-year period of worldwide Aryan domination.
The 2018 trip was already an infamous chapter in Trump’s presidency because it included the occasion on which he reportedly referred to United States troops killed in World War II as “losers” in the course of canceling a trip to an American cemetery near Paris because he thought his hair (or “hair“) would look bad in the rain.
Through a spokesperson, Trump denied having said that Hitler did a lot of good things. (He previously denied calling the war dead “losers.”)
The alleged pro-Hitler statements by the ex-president—whose administration made “America First” its central policy slogan—are of note, historically, for their resonance with the positions of the original, Hitler-friendly America First movement, which held during the ’30s that the United States’ involvement in another European war would be a waste of resources and lives. They are also of historic note because they mark the first occasion that we know of during which a postwar American president argued with his chief of staff about whether Hitler was good, in the course of canceling a trip to a military cemetery because he didn’t want his hair to get wet.
He (Trump, not Hitler) is widely considered likely to be the Republican nominee for the presidency in 2024.