Dem lawmaker compares Trump to Hitler during speech

Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDemocrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote The Go-Go's rock the stage at annual 'We Write the Songs' DC concert MORE (D-Ga.) this week called President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE an "anti-immigrant, racist strongman" and compared the president's rise to power to that of Adolf Hitler's.

"[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?" Johnson said Tuesday during a speech at an event hosted by the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.

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Trump in 2015 described Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and people who are “bringing crime” to the U.S.

Johnson also cited Trump's response to the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally and criticized the president for his immigration policies, including the travel ban that limits entry into the U.S. by people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

"Hitler was accepting of violence toward the achievement of political objectives," Johnson said in his speech. "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."

He went on to say that "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."

Johnson, who has represented Georgia's 4th Congressional District since 2007, made the comments while speaking at the Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta.

He later told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that he referenced Hitler in his speech because he "wanted to make the point that our democracy is under severe threat, that freedom is threatened."

"If we are not vigilant we can allow tyranny to set in," he told the newspaper. "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."

The White House and Johnson's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielGOP chairwoman: If Obama called off Iran strikes he would get Nobel Peace Prize RNC chairwoman: Trump raised more than M in less than 24 hours for reelection 2020 can be the year of the Republican woman — but it will take work MORE on Thursday called Johnson's comparison "disgusting."