Updated May 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

White House hits back at Trump "Gestapo" comments

 Donald Trump is given a tour of the McLaren garage prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

Former President Trump at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami, Florida, on Sunday. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

The White House denounced former President Trump Sunday over reports that he compared President Biden's administration to the Gestapo, the Nazi-era secret police force in Germany.

The big picture: The New York Times first reported that Trump made the comments after criticizing indictments against him at a private donor event in Florida Saturday, days after a New York judge found him in contempt for violating a gag order in his hush money trial.

  • "These people are running a Gestapo administration," Trump said, according to audio obtained by the NYT. "And it's the only thing they have. And it's the only way they're going to win, in their opinion, and it's actually killing them. But it doesn't bother me."

The latest: Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO Amy Spitalnick said in a Sunday statement that it's "always wrong, offensive, and despicable to make comparisons like this," per Reuters.

  • Even more so "when taken alongside the former president's long history of normalizing antisemitism," Spitalnick added.
  • "[It's] especially heinous to use Nazi comparisons in the service of a bigoted, authoritarian agenda."

What they're saying: The White House responded to Trump's comments with a scathing statement that drew on the presumptive Republican nominee's past conduct and rhetoric — including his repeated comments that undocumented immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country," language echoing the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler and other white supremacists:

"Instead of echoing the appalling rhetoric of fascists, lunching with Neo Nazis, and fanning debunked conspiracy theories that have cost brave police officer their lives, President Biden is bringing the American people together around our shared democratic values and the rule of law — an approach that has delivered the biggest violent crime reduction in 50 years."
— White House spokesperson Andrew Bates

The other side: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R), one of several potential Trump vice presidential picks who attended the fundraising event, told CNN Sunday that Trump's "Gestapo" remarks were not "central to what he was talking about" and claimed "a majority of Americans feel like the trial that he's in right now is politically motivated."

  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

Go deeper: Trump's remarks on U.S. Jews spark antisemitism accusations

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO Amy Spitalnick.

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