The Washington Post published an op-ed Tuesday comparing President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the border with the the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party during Germany’s Weimar Republic.
The article, “Emergency powers helped Hitler’s rise. Germany has avoided them ever since,” was written by University of Maryland history professer Jeffrey Herf, who considers Trump’s emergency declaration at the border “absurd.”
Herf admits that “President Trump is not a latter-day Hitler,” though he asserts that the president is “a bundle of authoritarian and illiberal impulses and desires,” and that his actions could lead to tyranny:
President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to seek funds for building a wall on the southern U.S. border relies for its authority on the 1976 National Emergencies Act, which gives presidents sweeping powers to address what they declare are urgent crises. But for a historian of modern Germany, it’s impossible to avoid recalling the way emergency declarations unsettled the Weimar Republic after World War I.
On March 24, 1933, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler executive authority without any pretense of parliamentary power.
Later generations of German leaders saw the emergency powers of the Weimar constitution as enabling Hitler’s rise to power. …
In view of Trump’s absurd declaration of emergency, now is a good time for Americans entrusted with protecting our democracy to ponder these lessons of German history.
Trump’s emergency declaration is his fourth, and is the 59th use of National Emergencies Act of 1976 to declare emergencies dozens of times. President Barack Obama declared 12, ten of which are still in effect.
A search of the Washington Post website for the term “obama emergency hitler” yielded exactly zero results.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.