In 2020, President Donald J. Trump gave a campaign speech in Minnesota that railed against refugees and criticized protests for racial justice. Towards the end, he packed standard lines from his stump speech and praise for the state’s line of pioneers.
Then, Mr. Trump stopped to address his crowd of supporters in Minnesota with an aside that seemed to invoke a theory of genetic superiority.
You have good genes, you know that, right? Your genes are good. A lot of it is about genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? Mr. Trump told the audience. The racehorse theory, do you think is so different? You have good Minnesota genes.
Mr. mentioned Trumps the racehorse theory that the idea adapted from horse breeding that good bloodlines produce superior offspring reflects a focus on bloodlines and genetics that Mr. Trump for decades, and one that is receiving new attention and scrutiny in his third bid for the presidency.
In recent months, Mr. Trump has drawn widespread criticism for saying that undocumented immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country, a phrase he first said in a right-wing media interview and last week repeated on the campaign trail.
As in the 2020 speech, Mr. Trumps was criticized by historians, Jewish groups and liberals, who said that his language was reminiscent of the ideology of eugenics proclaimed by the Nazis in Germany and white supremacists in America.
In a radio interview on Friday, Mr. Trump also defended his use of the phrase blood poisoning. He rejected criticism that his language echoed Nazi ideology by saying that he was not a student of Hitler and that his statement used blood in a different way, although he did not specify.
But just as news articles, biographers and books about his presidency have documented Mr. Trump’s long-standing interest in Adolf Hitler, they also show that Mr. Trump often turns to the language of genetics as he discusses the superiority of himself and others.
Mr. Trump spoke publicly about his belief that genetics determines a person’s success in life in 1988, when he told Oprah Winfrey that a person must have the right genes to achieve great fortune.
He would connect the views of the racehorse theory in a CNN interview with Larry King in 2007.
You can be taught things. Absolutely. You can do better, Mr. Trump told Mr. King. But there is one thing. You know, the racehorse theory, there’s something in the genes. And I mean, when I say something, I mean a lot.
Three years ago, he told CNN that he was a gene believer, explaining that when you connect two racehorses, you usually get a strong horse and equate his gene pool to successful thoroughbreds.
Michael DAntonio, who wrote a biography of Mr. Trump in 2015, attributed this view to the father of Mr. Trump. Mr. DAntonio told PBSs Frontline in a 2017 documentary that members of the Trump family believe that there are superior people, and that if you put the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you will get a superior children.
In 2019, Mr. DAntonio told The New York Times that Mr. Trump said that a person’s genes at birth are a major factor in their future, more than anything they learn later.
The former president not only emphasized his own good genes, but repeatedly praised British business leaders, Christian evangelical leaders, a top campaign adviser and American industrialist Henry Ford.
A spokesman for the Trump campaign, Steven Cheung, said in a statement that Mr. Trump in his radio interview repeated that he was talking about criminals and terrorists who cross the border illegally.
Mr. Cheung added, The media is only obsessed with race and bloodlines, and is given a safe haven for disgusting and vile anti-Semitic rhetoric to be spewed out of their outlets.
The political career of Mr. Trump’s rise to the presidency has been inextricably linked with anti-immigrant rhetoric, and his tone has grown more strident in his third run for office.
In a radio interview on Friday, conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt asked Mr. Trump to explain his use of the phrase, he was forced several times to respond to those who were angry that the phrase was similar to the statements made by Hitler in his hate-filled manifesto, Mein Kampf.
The former president said he had no racist intentions behind the statement. Then, he added, I knew nothing about Hitler. I am not a student of Hitler. I have not read his works.
Mr. Trump has long had a documented interest in Hitler. A table next to his bed used to have a copy of Hitler’s speeches called My New Order, a gift from a friend Ivana Trump, his first wife, said she sometimes saw him nothing.
He once asked his White House chief of staff why he lacked generals like those who reported to Hitler, who called those military leaders totally loyal to the Nazi dictator, according to the book on the Trump presidency by Peter Baker, a New York Times reporter, and Susan Glasser.
On another occasion, he told the same aide that Hitler had done a lot of good things, according to Michael C. Bender, a journalist who is now a reporter for the New York Times, in a 2021 book about said Mr. Trump.
The former president denied making both comments. On Friday, he continued his defense by pointing out that his use of the phrase blood poison was different from the passages in Mein Kampf where Hitler used poison and blood to express his views on how to harm the the purity of the Aryans is foreign.
They said he said something about blood, Mr. Trump said. He didn’t say it the way I said it either. By the way, this is a very different kind of a statement. He did not explain the difference.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that great civilizations declined because the original creative race was lost, due to blood contamination. At one point, Hitler linked the poison invading the national body to the influx of foreign blood.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Hewitt that he used blood poisoning to refer to immigrants from Asia, Africa and South America although he did not mention Europeans who he claimed were mostly from prisons. and mental institutions. He added that he was not talking about a specific group, but immigrants from all over the world who do not speak our language.
Mr. Trump first directly addressed the comparisons between his speech and Hitler’s comments on Tuesday at a campaign event in Iowa, where he told hundreds of supporters that he had not read Mein Kampf.
The next day, the Biden campaign posted a graphic on social media that directly compared Mr. Trump to Hitler, using pictures of both and listing three quotes from each.
Mr. was also accused. Trump among historians echoes the language of fascist dictators, including Hitler. Last month, he described his political opponents as pests who needed to be removed.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed to the research.
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