That’s according to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, who said the former president admitted to him that he hopes his supporters act on his words ― even if it means violence.
That was the assertion the Washington correspondent made Monday in an interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, when he discussed a conversation he had with Trump in August 2019, after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“There were real concerns that there would be copycats, there would be more [shootings],” Karl told Wallace.
Trump responded using phrases that echoed the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Karl said, even though he might not know the history of it.
“He’s using this language,” Karl said. “This language out of the Third Reich — ‘enemy of the people.’”
Karl said he asked the president if he was worried his supporters might take his words to heart, saying, “Aren’t you concerned they will act on them?”
Karl said Trump didn’t miss a beat with his response.
“He said, ‘I hope they take my words to heart. I believe the press is the enemy of the people,’” Karl remembered Trump telling him.
Karl said he is still trying to figure out what would make a person say things that could inspire others to lash out.
“Maybe it’s an inability to have any kind of empathy or understanding of the consequences of your words, but [his rhetoric] is consistent. That’s not new.”
Karl’s comments came after a wild weekend in which Trump, in the words of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, went “full-on Hitler” and referred to political opponents as “vermin” during a Veterans Day speech in Claremont, New Hampshire.
Karl also discusses Trump in his new book, “Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party.”