Ivana claims Trump kept Hitler quotes by bed in resurfaced interview

A 1990 Vanity Fair profile of Ivana Trump noted the future president’s apparent fascination with the Nazi leader

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 19 December 2023 12:02 GMT
Trump uses 'blood and soil' rhetoric at campaign rally

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Louise Thomas

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A Vanity Fair interview with Donald Trump’s late first wife Ivana Trump has resurfaced in which she alleges that her former spouse used to keep a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches in his bedside cabinet.

The article from September 1990 has reappeared in the wake of the Republican presidential contender coming under fire for saying that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” in a speech at a New Hampshire rally on Saturday.

The 1990 feature, written by Marie Brenner, recounts: “Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.

“Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade.”

In the article, Ms Brenner writes that she asked Mr Trump about the truth of the anecdote, to which he replied: “It was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.”

Mr Davis is then quoted as telling the journalist: “I did give him a book about Hitler. But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”

Mr Trump then also reportedly Ms Brenner: “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

“Is Ivana trying to convince her friends and lawyer that Trump is a crypto-Nazi?” the article reads.

“Trump is no reader or history buff. Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda.”

Elsewhere in the piece, Ms Brenner quoted Ivana as saying that a friend of Mr Trump’s “clicks his heels and says, ‘Heil Hitler,’ possibly as a family joke” whenever he visits him in his office.

Ivana Trump
Ivana Trump (AP)

The resurfaced story threatens to worsen the media firestorm encircling Mr Trump following his latest disturbing anti-immigrant comments – which have been likened to those made by the Nazi leader.

Speaking on stage in New Hampshire, Mr Trump said: “They poison mental institutions and prisons all over the world. Not just in South America. Not just the three or four countries we think about.

“But all over the world they’re coming into our country, from Africa, from Asia.”

The Joe Biden campaign has since accused Mr Trump of “parroting Hitler” by drawing on the dictator’s “blood and soil” sentiments while Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an expert on authoritarianism from New York University, stated unequivocally that his remarks amount to “fascist rhetoric”.

“The Nazis made the fear of ‘blood pollution’ of their master race and their civilisation a foundation of their state,” she said.

“Italian fascists talked about the threat of non-white immigrants coming in to ruin white civilisation. Trump is referencing and prolonging and echoing fascist rhetoric.”

Among Mr Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination, so far only ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie has denounced him, calling the comments “disgusting”.

Mr Christie warned that the front-runner is “becoming crazy” and “worse by the day” and is engaging in “dog whistle” tactics designed to appeal to bigots.

Before this week’s outrage, Mr Trump is alleged to have previously praised the Nazi leader during a presidential visit to Europe in 2018, telling his then-chief of staff John Kelly, according to a recent book, that Hitler “did a lot of good things” like dragging Germany out of economic turmoil in the 1930s.

Mr Kelly reportedly pushed back against the idea immediately, according to Michael Bender’s book Frankly, We Did Win This Election (2021), telling his boss that no economic revival could justify the activities of the Third Reich.

More recently, Mr Trump was criticised for describing his enemies as “vermin” in another address in New Hampshire in November – comments that again carried fascist undertones.

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