Trump told John Kelly that Hitler ‘did a lot of good things,’ book claims

Former President Trump reportedly said in a conversation with then-chief of staff John Kelly during his 2018 trip to Europe to commemorate the end of World War I that Adolf Hitler “did a lot of good things.”

The conversation is included in an upcoming book from The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian

The news outlet reported that while Trump denied making the remark to Kelly, several unidentified sources said Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred.” 

While Trump cited Germany’s economic recovery under Hitler in the 1930s, his chief of staff “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities,” according to Bender’s book.

Kelly reportedly continued to push back on Trump’s alleged claims “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.” 

According to the book, Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, then told Trump that “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington said in a statement to The Hill that the reported conversation is “totally false.”

“President Trump never said this,” she added. “It is made up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.”

Kelly departed his role as chief of staff at the beginning of 2019 after serving in the position for about 17 months and has become a vocal critic of the Trump.

The reported conversation between Trump and Kelly is just one of a series of incidents described in Bender’s book, with several advance copies obtained by news outlets ahead of its July 13 release, giving an inside look into Trump’s presidency and his tensions with top administration officials. 

Late last month, Axios reported a passage in the book that describes Trump yelling at Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while expressing his desire to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and deploy active duty troops to Washington, D.C., amid civil unrest in the wake of last year’s police killing of George Floyd. 

When Milley pushed back on Trump’s request, citing legal provisions limiting the military from interfering in domestic affairs, the former president reportedly responded by screaming, “I said you’re in f—ing charge!”

“Well, I’m not in charge!” Milley reportedly shouted back. 

“You can’t f—ing talk to me like that,” Trump responded, according to Bender’s book. 

The former president has denied the account, telling Axios through an aide that the story “is totally fake news.”

— Updated at 8:46 a.m.

Tags Adolf Hitler Axios Donald Trump George Floyd John Kelly Mark Milley The Guardian The Wall Street Journal Trump Administration World War I

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