Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) told supporters on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s administration is comparable to that of Nazi Germany’s Third Reich.
“There are three kinds of fear against which we must guard and stand against, and make sure that we overcome and defeat,” O’Rourke said during a campaign rally in Grand Prairie, Texas. “The first is this fabricated fear of the president who wants us to be afraid of one another, a president when he was a candidate, who said that he would ban all Muslims, all people of one religion from the shores of a country that is comprised of people from all traditions of faith, all walks of life, every single country on the planet.”
“It is hard, outside of the Third Reich, to find another example in modern human history of leader, of a modern democracy, saying that one people of one religion are inherently dangerous, or disqualified, or defective,” he continued. “And yet, that’s what our president did.”
O’Rourke was referencing Trump’s 2017 executive order, which has been referred to as a Muslim ban. The executive order suspended U.S. entry of those whose counties do not meet adjudication standards under federal immigration law for 90 days and included exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Despite the informal moniker, the ban ultimately included non-Muslim majority countries such as North Korea and Venezuela.
“The same president who described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, though they commit crimes at a far lower rate than anyone that is born in this country,” O’Rourke added. “A president who not only caged those kids, but described asylum seekers, who survived a 2000-mile journey, much of that on foot, some of that atop a train known as ‘The Beast’ or ‘La Bestia,’ and here when they thought they had reached salvation and refuge and asylum, instead they found their worst nightmare, because this president described them as an invasion, an infestation; he called them predators and animals; he tried to make them less than human so that we would treat them less.”
The Democratic presidential contender, however, had mischaracterized comments that the president had made in the past. Rather than speaking about immigrants, Trump had notably referred to members of the violent Central American gang MS-13 as “animals” and described an “infestation” of the gangs into the United States.
O’Rourke has made multiple comparisons between the president and Nazis over the past few months. In late July, he likened Trump’s campaign rally to a “Nuremburg rally” and, weeks later, he argued that Trump’s rhetoric is similar to someone in Nazi Germany’s Third Reich.
This is also not the first time that the former Texas congressman has promulgated debunked claims to smear the president. In August, O’Rourke claimed to CNN’s Jake Tapper that Trump has described “white nationalists, and [Ku Klux] Klansmen, and neo-Nazis” as “very fine people.”
The distorted statement was in reference to a press conference that the president gave in August 2017 while condemning a group of white supremacists at a white pride rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally was in protest of the removal of a confederate General Robert E. Lee statue, and members associated with the left-wing group Antifa showed up to counter-protest.
During the press conference, Trump fiercely condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists, but also contended that there was a third group that had “very fine people, on both sides.” This third group consisted of individuals who either wanted the statue dismantled or to remain in place, and came simply to the event to protest, rather than participate in a white pride rally.
After Breitbart News confronted O’Rourke with the misquote, he replied “No. I believe in the truth, and in being honest about what the president was doing.” He has subsequently continued to amplify his claim.