The Trump Files: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry

It happened.

Ivylise Simones

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange-but-true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

There was a time when Donald Trump spoke out against racism.

In 1999, when Trump was flirting with the idea of seeking the Reform Party’s presidential nomination, he paid a visit to a museum run by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that promotes human rights and studies the Holocaust. In a rare moment of eloquence, Trump called out his potential competitor for the nomination, commentator Pat Buchanan, for suggesting in a book that Hitler had posed no direct threat to the West in 1940.

“In the 1930s, everyone thought Hitler was a fringe element who could never come to power,” Trump said, according to an article in USA Today.

“History showed otherwise,” he added. “We must recognize bigotry and prejudice and defeat it wherever it appears.”

Trump encouraged his rival to visit the museum, hoping it would enlighten him. “I think Pat Buchanan should come here, absolutely,” Trump said, according to the Associated Press. “His views are so far off, and what he wrote in his book was so bad.”

Nowadays, it’s fellow Republicans who have to ask Trump to avoid racist remarks and tweets that originate with anti-Semitic white supremacists.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest