Opinion

Do You Want a ‘Unified Reich’ Mind-Set in the White House?

It is hard to be shocked by Donald Trump anymore. The former president’s trial over hush money paid to a porn star has made history, and his performance in court has been so farcical that Mr. Trump was threatened with jail time for contempt of court. He has called his political enemies “vermin” and said that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. Mr. Trump’s transgressions against American political norms are by now almost a cliché.

Yet when Mr. Trump posted on Monday a video on his Truth Social account that featured mock headlines about his re-election in 2024, including one that predicted that “what’s next for America” was the “creation of a unified reich,” it was a shock of a different order, a suggestion that our country was on a glide path toward Nazi Germany in a second Trump term.

Mr. Trump’s penchant for flirting with authoritarianism and fascism is well known — he praised the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, has dined with the white supremacist Nick Fuentes and, of course, instigated the Jan. 6 riot. But the “unified reich” video shows a different kind of danger in another Trump presidency.

The Associated Press reported that the references in the video “appear to be a reference to the formation of the modern Pan-German nation, unifying smaller states into a single reich, or empire, in 1871.” A Trump campaign representative claimed that the video was posted by a campaign staff member while the candidate was in court. That underscores the bigger problem in the Republican Party today, one that goes far beyond Mr. Trump: a generation of young Republican staff members appears to be developing terminal white nationalist brain. And they will staff the next Republican administration.

This is a problem that other Republican candidates have faced as well. Last July the Ron DeSantis campaign fired a speechwriter and former National Reviewcontributor, Nate Hochman, for promoting a pro-DeSantis video featuring Nazi imagery; and scores of Republican aides on Capitol Hill have been outed by reporters as “groypers” — a term used to describe fans of Mr. Fuentes.

Not every young Republican campaign staff member is a fascist. But the far right is a significant part of the Republican Party’s political coalition. Mr. Trump sailed through the G.O.P. primaries and has probably secured the nomination. The presence of so many extremist elements in positions of power and influence is the price to be paid in the party’s bargain with MAGAism: Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar addressed a white nationalist conference in 2022, and an investigative report from 2020 found that at least 12 Trump administrative aides had ties to neo-Nazi and anti-immigrant hate groups.

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