U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) meets with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) and Vice-President elect Mike Pence on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10, 2016.
Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Republicans try to defend Trump’s ‘Nazi Germany’ rhetoric

On Wednesday, Donald Trump was so outraged by leaks related to the Russia scandal, he turned to Twitter to publish a provocative message: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Two days later, it’s still unclear why in the world the president-elect would say something like this. Not only is it a needless ugly shot at U.S. intelligence professionals, it doesn’t even make historical sense: of all the nightmares associated with Nazi Germany, leaks from intelligence agencies weren’t the principal problem.

I can appreciate why much of the country has grown inured to the president-elect’s over-the-top rhetoric, but asking whether the United States is any way similar to Nazi Germany is pretty radical stuff, even for Trump. Are Republicans comfortable with this? Evidently, at least one GOP senator thought he was kidding.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Thursday defended Donald Trump after the president-elect invoked Nazi Germany in slamming the intelligence community.

“Give him a break … he has a sense of humor,” Inhofe told reporters when asked to respond to Trump’s remarks from a Wednesday press conference.
Trump wasn’t being humorous. In fact, a few hours after publishing his tweet, the president-elect re-emphasized his argument during a press conference, insisting that he believes it was “disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out.” He added, “That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.”

This wasn’t a stand-up routine. Trump was neither laughing nor smiling when he made the comment.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about this yesterday and said the president-elect will improve in time. “I think as he gets to know our intelligence community better he’ll learn to appreciate all the great work that they do,” Ryan told reporters. “He is just beginning that process.”

Hmm. Donald Trump, who’s been receiving intelligence briefings for months, may stop comparing U.S. intelligence professionals to Nazis once he gets to know them better?

About how long does that “process” take?