Dem lawmaker compares Trump to Hitler during speech

Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonTlaib: Colleagues feeding 'fear mongering' in questioning of Muslim-American father of slain children Facebook, Google face tough questions over white nationalism Congress should look into its own taxes and travel, not just Trump's MORE (D-Ga.) this week called President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference 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 McDanielWarren calls for House to begin impeachment proceedings Fox's Kilmeade questions whether Omar is 'an American first' after 9/11 remarks Donald Trump has secured the future of our American courts MORE on Thursday called Johnson's comparison "disgusting."