In New Hampshire, Trump approvingly quoted Vladimir Putin of Russia and Viktor Orban of Hungary. And in a campaign speech, he targeted immigrants in a way historians have likened to past authoritarians, including a reference that some civil rights advocates and experts in extremism have compared to Adolf Hitler’s fixation on blood purity.
And he used the term “hostages” to describe people charged with violent crimes in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump quoted Putin, the dictatorial Russia president who invaded neighboring Ukraine, criticizing the criminal charges against Trump, who is accused in four separate cases of falsifying business records in a hush money scheme, mishandling classified documents, and trying to overturn the 2020 election results. In the quotation, Putin agreed with Trump’s own attempts to portray the prosecutions as politically motivated.
“It shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy,” Trump quoted Putin saying in the speech. Trump added: “They’re all laughing at us.”
Orban has presented his leadership as a model of an “illiberal” state and has opposed immigration for leading to “mixed race” Europeans.
But Trump called him “highly respected” and welcomed his praise as “the man who can save the Western world.”
In the speech, Trump also repeated his own inflammatory language against undocumented immigrants, by accusing them of “poisoning the blood of our country” — a phrase that immigrant groups and civil rights advocates have condemned as reminiscent as Hitler in his book “Mein Kampf,” in which he told Germans to “care for the purity of their own blood” by eliminating Jews.
And approaching the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Trump came to the defense of alleged violent offenders who have been detained awaiting trial on the order of judges.
“I don’t call them prisoners, I call them hostages,” he said. “They’re hostages.”