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Candace Owens, a President Donald Trump supporter and conservative personality, is facing kickback online after a video surfaced on Friday in which she voiced a bizarrely benign take on Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in a rambling defense of nationalism.
Here is video of Candace Owens' full answer on nationalism and Hitler pic.twitter.com/NfBvoH8vQg— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) February 8, 2019
The remarks were made in December at an event in London, England, launching the British chapter of conservative student activism organization Turning Point USA for which Owens works as communications director.
Owens was answering a question from an audience member about the future of nationalism when she began talking about Nazi Germany’s murderous leader.
“I actually don’t have any problems at all with the word nationalism,” she began. “I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don’t want.
“When we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a national socialist,” she said, digressing. “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize.
“He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way,” she continued. “To me, that’s not nationalism. In thinking about how we could go bad down the line, I don’t really have an issue with nationalism. I really don’t.”
After BuzzFeed News reported on the London event on Friday, the clip circulated widely on Twitter and garnered criticism from social media users.
Candace Owens: "The problem with Hitler was that he wanted to murder Jews and other minorities outside Germany, too"pic.twitter.com/PDWgcIqF1T— BEN SHAPIRO IS ALT-RIGHT (@zei_nabq) February 8, 2019
Good afternoon Andrew - Ignorance about Hitler’s evil regime must always be confronted. That burden should not fall on Holocaust survivors. There was nothing, using @RealCandaceO own words, “great” about the Third Reich before it began annexing & invading its neighbors. https://t.co/Pq8vdtirly— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 8, 2019
So Candace Owens thinks Hitler‘s domestic policies were totally fine and the real problem was his global agenda. Here’s the history lesson she desperately needs...— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 8, 2019
1933 Jewish population in Germany: 565,000
1950 Jewish population in Germany: 37,000
Candace Owens: I liked Hitler's early stuff, before he went mass market https://t.co/1IxuqJK1gG— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) February 8, 2019
Meanwhile, some conservative pundits defended Owens.
Candace Owens' nuanced attempt to ascertain whether Hitler was a nationalist or not doesn't mean she endorses Hitler.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 8, 2019
The "OK" line clearly wasn't her endorsing Hitler, but the media frames it that way.
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON'T LIKE YOU.
You lie about people to smear them.
It's sad that what the media is doing to Candace Owens today isn't unusual— Jack Posobiec ☘️ (@JackPosobiec) February 8, 2019
It's what they do every day
Take a clip out of context, lie about it, affix a label to someone, and repeat forever
This is who they are
Needless to say, Hitler’s fascist dictatorship in Germany in the 1930s—long before its imperialist expansion into neighboring countries—was a totalitarian and oppressive regime with extreme racial policies targeting Jews and other minorities. Hitler’s problem wasn’t globalism—or, more accurately, expansionism—but systematic genocide and anti-Semitism.
In a Periscope livestream on Friday in response to the backlash, Owens stood by her comments and expanded on her intent to differentiate nationalism from national socialism.
“Nationalism is sort of conflated with, for some reason, Hitler,” she told viewers. “That’s really, really wrong and we that we have to almost correct the record on that. He wasn’t a nationalist. He was a homicidal, psychotic maniac.
“He wasn’t about putting Germans first,” Owens continued. “There were German Jews that he was putting into camps and murdering. He was a mass murderer.”
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.