The Trump Files: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry

Ivylise Simones

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Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange-but-true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

There was a time when Donald Trump spoke out against racism.

In 1999, when Trump was flirting with the idea of seeking the Reform Party’s presidential nomination, he paid a visit to a museum run by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that promotes human rights and studies the Holocaust. In a rare moment of eloquence, Trump called out his potential competitor for the nomination, commentator Pat Buchanan, for suggesting in a book that Hitler had posed no direct threat to the West in 1940.

“In the 1930s, everyone thought Hitler was a fringe element who could never come to power,” Trump said, according to an article in USA Today.

“History showed otherwise,” he added. “We must recognize bigotry and prejudice and defeat it wherever it appears.”

Trump encouraged his rival to visit the museum, hoping it would enlighten him. “I think Pat Buchanan should come here, absolutely,” Trump said, according to the Associated Press. “His views are so far off, and what he wrote in his book was so bad.”

Nowadays, it’s fellow Republicans who have to ask Trump to avoid racist remarks and tweets that originate with anti-Semitic white supremacists.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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