Mar 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

James Clyburn: Trump is racist and America could "go the way of Germany in the 1930s"

Rep. James Clyburn, the top-ranking African American in American politics, told "Axios on HBO" that President Trump is a racist who hired white supremacists, warning America “could very well go the way of Germany in the 1930s.”

Why it matters: Clyburn is a force in Democratic politics widely credited for resurrecting Joe Biden’s campaign with his South Carolina primary endorsement. He warned in great detail of what he sees as troubling parallels between America today and Nazi Germany.

  • Clyburn said he believes Trump is a racist, but he stopped short of calling him a white supremacist.
  • He insisted there are white supremacists in the White House but would not name a specific person.
  • "I used to wonder how could the people of Germany allow Hitler to exist. But with each passing day, I'm beginning to understand how. And that's why I'm trying to sound the alarm."

Clyburn compared Republicans' coalescing around Trump to Nazis supporting Hitler amid his rise to power. He argued that falsehoods in Trump's State of the Union address showcased the issue.

  • "Fully half of those lies, the Republican side of the House stood up and cheered they knew that was not true. But they cheered him on. I really believe that the people of Germany knew Adolf Hitler was lying. And before they knew it, they no longer had a chancellor but a dictator. Anything that's happened before can happen again."
  • Clyburn also name-checked a congressional colleague, stating that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is a "poster child" for the shift of the Republican Party.

The bottom line: "There's a big difference between conservatism and the incompetence."

Go deeper

"Axios on HBO" interviews House Majority Whip James Clyburn

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the Democratic "kingmaker" largely credited for Joe Biden’s surge, tells Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei that he thinks President Trump is a racist and warns the U.S. "could very well go the way of Germany in the 1930s". Catch the full interview on Sunday, March 15 at 6 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms. 

Rep. Clyburn: DNC should "step in" for Biden after Tuesday's contests

Biden shakes hands with Clyburn on Feb. 26 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) called for the Democratic National Committee to pave the way for Vice President Joe Biden to win the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, NPR reports.

What's happening: Biden is the projected winner of the Democratic presidential primary in Michigan, the biggest contest of the night, as well as in Mississippi and Missouri. Voters are still casting ballots in Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

James Clyburn wants Joe Biden to pick an African American woman for vice president

Harris: Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images. Clyburn: Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images. Abrams: Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter.

Rep. James Clyburn has a list of African American women who are qualified to be vice president, and he told "Axios on HBO" in an interview that there's a "much deeper bench than people realize."

The big picture: Clyburn is widely credited with saving Biden's campaign following his endorsement in the South Carolina Democratic primaries.