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Trump Jr. says gas chamber ‘joke’ had nothing to do with Nazis

Donald Trump, Jr., son of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Donald Trump, Jr., son of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In a radio interview with Chris Stigall in Philadelphia on Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. casually dropped a Holocaust metaphor, comparing “the media” to Nazis.

Trump Jr., who is one of his father’s advisers and most visible surrogates, was riffing about Hillary Clinton’s supposedly cozy relationship with the media when he invoked the Nazi imagery.

“Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest, but the media has built her up. They’ve let her slide on every in-discrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out of this thing,” he said.

“I mean, if Republicans were doing that they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”

You can listen to the clip, courtesy of Buzzfeed, here:

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The Anti Defamation League responded to Trump Jr.’s remark, saying on Twitter that they hoped he retracted his statement and that “trivialization of the Holocaust and gas chambers is NEVER okay.”

Putting aside the fact that Holocaust metaphors are always uncalled for, Trump Jr. referencing Nazis in defense of his father is particularly rich.

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Throughout the election, the Trump campaign has been notoriously cozy with white supremacists. On Twitter, Trump has made a habit of retweeting openly racist and anti-Semitic Twitter users who traffic in neo-Nazi propaganda, like when Trump tweeted a graphic of Hillary Clinton laid over a background of money and branded with a Star of David. The image had first appeared on an anti-Semitic, white supremacist message board; the Trump campaign insisted that it was a “Sheriff’s star.”

He’s also adopted their rhetoric, like when he derisively called Hillary Clinton “Angela Merkel,” a line of attack that initially baffled political analysts but can be found verbatim on white supremacist forums like the neo-Nazi site Stormfront.

Nor does the cozy relationship end with the elder Trump. Over the weekend, Trump Jr. shared a meme frequently used by white supremacists casting Trump and his surrogates as “The Deplorables” alongside “Pepe the Frog,” a caricature co-opted by the alt-right and used to promote white nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism.

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Adding to the irony, one conspiracy theory popular among the same white nationalists that Trump’s campaign appeals to is that the media is under Jewish control. When Melania Trump’s plagiarized convention speech gained widespread attention, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke—who has enthusiastically embraced Donald Trump, taken credit for Trump’s “America First” message and cited Trump as his inspiration to run for office this cycle—blamed the plagiarism on “Jewish media insiders.”

Trump Jr. attempted to do some damage control on Thursday afternoon during an interview with NBC News.

It’s unclear if he truly meant to refer to “corporal” punishment, which refers to physical punishment, including imprisonment and bygone punishments like flogging; in the modern United States it’s typically used to refer to family punishments for minors such as spankings. “Capital” punishment is the actual term for the death penalty.