A CNN analyst and senior adviser at the University of Delaware's Biden Institute on Saturday charged that President Trump's call to "reclaim" America's heritage was similar to rhetoric used by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler -- but she appeared unaware that former Vice President Joe Biden himself had made a virtually identical comment in 2011.
Samantha Vinograd, who also served on the National Security Council in the Obama administration, claimed that Trump's remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday had made her "sick, on a personal level."
Trump told a raucous crowd at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., that he would recommit to prioritizing U.S. interests and praised "patriots" in attendance.
“The men and women here today are on the front lines of protecting America’s interests, defending America’s values, and reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage," Trump said during a fiery two-hour address. "With your help, we are reversing decades of blunders and betrayals. These are serious, serious betrayals to our nation and to everything we stand for. It’s been done by the failed ruling class that enriched foreign countries at our expense. It wasn’t America first; in many cases it was America last. Those days are over, long over.”
For Vinograd, those remarks evoked not patriotism, but the systematic gassing and slaughtering of millions of Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, and other minority groups.
"Preserving your heritage, reclaiming our heritage -- that sounds a lot like a certain leader that killed members of my family and about 6 million other Jews in the 1940s," Vinograd told CNN anchor Ana Cabrera, who had prompted Vinograd by ominously arguing that Trump's language “taps into historically darker times."
Vinograd added that "the president talks about preserving our heritage as a catch-all for implementing policies that misallocate resources" and charged that "he pretends there are massive flows of illegal immigrants coming over our borders and is spending billions of dollars on a border wall emergency, instead of paying attention to real national security threats."
According to Vinograd, Trump "sounds a lot like despotic leaders that have talked about white heritage and white nationalism around the world and is putting resources in the wrong place, and pretending that there are foreign people trying to influence our country in a way that just isn’t accurate."
But several conservative commentators quickly pointed out that Trump, in fact, sounded less like Hitler and more like Biden at the 2011 Florida Democratic Party state convention, when he was stumping for Obama's re-election.
“It’s time to stand up," Biden yelled to the crowd. "It’s time to fight back. It’s time to reclaim our heritage, and it’s time and we are ready. ... We are looking for this fight! The future of our country depends on it." Biden added: "It's long past time we get back up, that we stand up, that we reclaim what every American thought was their birthright: the American Dream."
Vinograd also argued that Trump had made "Russia's job a lot easier" by "denigrat[ing] our institutions, the Department of Justice and U.S. Congress; he spread misinformation and conspiracy theories, he undermined the credibility of several of our institutions, he sewed divisions, he sewed confusion, he was speaking to his base, but he was also saying things that really looked like Vladimir Putin scripted his speech."
Although Vinograd posted a video of her own comments to Twitter over the weekend, backlash was relentless not only to her Hitler remark, but also to CNN's decision to hire Vinograd as a national security analyst -- a seemingly nonpartisan title -- without clearly reminding viewers that she works at the Biden Institute.
"That thing where you are QAnon-level crazy but you are still allowed to be a 'national security analyst' for CNN," Matt Wolking, a GOP congressional communications director, wrote on Twitter.
"In less than 90 seconds, Sam: 1) Made a Hitler comparison 2) Denied there are massive numbers of illegal immigrants crossing our borders 3) Spread a bonkers conspiracy theory that the real goal of Trump's speech to CPAC was to serve Putin's interests," Wolking added.
Arthur Schwartz, a Republican political operative with close ties to the Trump administration, pointed out that Trump has behaved in a decidedly un-Nazi-like manner in several high-profile matters.
"The president’s chairman of the commission for the preservation of America’s heritage is an Orthodox Jew from New York. Keep talking about Nazis you clown."
Biden is almost certain to run for president in 2020, a source with direct knowledge told Fox News last month, although the precise timing of his potential entrance in the race remains unclear. The former vice president has conducted extensive outreach to former colleagues, grassroots activists and contributors.