Journalist and television host Fareed Zakaria denounced Donald Trump on CNN Monday morning, referring to the Republican presidential candidate as a “bullshit artist” who is entertaining in the same way that an auto salesman is.
Zakaria pointed to the pattern that has emerged in Trump’s efforts to defend or clarify his controversial statements.
“Every time it is demonstrated that Donald Trump is plainly ignorant about some basic public policy issue, some well-known fact, he comes back with a certain bravado and tries to explain it away with a tweet or a statement,” Zakaria said.
The most recent instance of Trump’s “bravado” was sparked by the jumbled statement the presidential candidate made regarding Russia’s Crimea annexation in a Sunday interview with ABC’s “This Week”:
TRUMP: It’s ― look, you know, I have my own ideas. He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not gonna go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want ―
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?
TRUMP: OK― well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He take ― takes Crimea. He’s sort of, I mean ―
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said you might recognize that.
TRUMP: I’m gonna take a look at it. But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.
Trump characteristically attempted to clarify the perplexing statements through Twitter:
“It’s entertaining,” Zakaria said of Trump’s shtick, “if the guy is trying to sell you a condo or a car. But for the president of the United States, it’s deeply worrying.”
When asked if Trump is correct in saying that most of the people who live in Crimea, which has been annexed by Russia, would prefer to be part of Russia than the Ukraine, Zakaria drew a comparison to totalitarian leader Adolf Hitler.
“It is important to understand that the argument that Donald Trump is putting forward about Crimea is the same argument that Adolf Hitler made about the Sudeten Czechoslovaks,” Zakaria said. “It is in many ways the argument that was made about the Austrians: ‘Look, these people want to be part of Germany, so I’m just going to go in and invade their country anyways.’”
While the comparison between Hitler and Trump is not a novel idea, Zakaria specifically focused on the likeness in reasoning between the two demagogues: “The fact that maybe ― we’re not sure ― if you’d done a poll in Crimea that more people would like to be part of Russia, rather than Ukraine, does not tell us much. The Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia probably wanted to be part of Germany; that did not justify Adolf Hitler’s move.”