Recalling Hitler’s 1924 Trial Speech, MSNBC Warns of ‘Risks’ if Trump Speaks at Trial

President Donald Trump gestures as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Valley International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Harlingen, Texas. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

MSNBC published an op-ed Tuesday comparing Adolf Hitler’s ability to speak and sway others at his 1924 trial (for an attempted coup) with former President Donald Trump speaking at his impeachment trial, claiming that “there are inherent risks in giving Trump a megaphone to spread his inanities now that he’s out of office and has been deplatformed from Twitter.”

The essay, which MSNBC opinion columnist Hayes Brown published, titled “Trump probably won’t speak at his impeachment trial. That may be a good thing,” refers to an earlier op-ed published by the Washington Post last month in which Post foreign affairs columnist Ishaan Tharoor compared the January 6 Capitol riot with the infamous 1923 “Beer Hall Putsch” — a failed government takeover on the part of Hitler and the Nazis.

“Part of the reason that comparison rings true is what happened after the putsch’s failure — and the history here is what has me most concerned about the idea of putting Trump on the witness stand,” the author writes.

Describing Hitler’s “stunning performance throughout the trial,” the author claims that “the listening public had thought the ideas he’d rattled off in his diatribes sounded pretty good” and that the international media was also impressed, effectively “boosting Hitler’s standing” from a “nobody” to an admirable figure able to reach the masses.

Though the author notes he has low expectations from Trump and doesn’t expect “anything remotely as eloquent” as Hitler’s speech, he warns of “inherent risks” in giving Trump a voice, should the former president take the stand.

Reiterating his fears, the author calls for a greater effort to “neutralize” Trump’s message than that which should have stifled Hitler nearly a century ago.

“So, yes, subpoena Trump — but make sure you can neutralize his message more effectively than German prosecutors did in 1924,” he concludes.

This is not the first time a the media has promoted comparisons between Trump and his presidency to Hitler and the Holocaust.

Last month, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an op-ed by the paper’s former editor David Lee Preston in which he made several comparisons between Trump and Hitler while presenting Trump’s presidency as a means to “better understand Hitler’s sway over Germans.”

In December, a Washington Post cartoon depicted Republicans who “collaborated” with the president in contesting the 2020 election results as gruesome rats.  

In November, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour recalled Kristallnacht, noting that Trump’s presidency has similarly been a “modern day assault” attacking “those same values” the Nazis did.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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